Saturday, February 7, 2015

Republicans Gone Wild: Why are they trashing public safety for Freedom to die sooner.

I still can't believe conservative voters think the following two irresponsible ideas make any sense at all. Who even asked for this?

Or nearly blind drivers...a 74 year old won't need an eye test until they're 90!!!

Expose': What Republicans are really thinking...

The surreal efforts by the right wing to play down Scott Walker's draconian cuts to the UW and ridiculous changes to Wisconsin Idea may at long last help bring more attention to what is really going on at the Capitol and in the heads of our Republican legislators.

Thanks to a former member of the state senate, Dale Schultz, we're able to get the real story behind the deceit and phony concern they have for public policy. On WPR's Joy Cardin Show, Schultz again let it all hang out.

Transportation and education disaster: Schultz gets right to the problem; the no tax pledge with Grover Norquist. Do legislators know Norquist came up with this hair brained idea when he was just 12 years old? I've got a 12 year old they can meet, if they don't mind waiting for him to get home from school. Why wait years and have to go through a think tank pledge?
"Everytime Grover Norquist writes a letter, my colleagues wet themselves."
Who can argue with that? Schultz also says we should chuck the entire voucher experience:
"I remember one time in my caucus asking my colleagues 'where are the failing schools. Which of you have them and would you be able to meet them,' and not a hand went up. I think it is time to stop this nonsense with our educational system, that we chuck the entire voucher experience, the data is in, it doesn't work as well as public education." 
WEACSchultz said,“There is no evidence that this (voucher system) works better than public education,”  

“After 25 years why do we insist on expanding and duplicating what our public schools are doing and don’t even do it as well … and yet with the evidence in, it’s time to say this (voucher system) doesn’t work. We need to recognize that the best chance of getting the most out of our dollars for Wisconsin’s children now and in the future lies with public schools.”
Schultz: "This is nothing more than the wholesale destruction of the University of Wisconsin system. The greatest economic driver that we have in the state of Wisconsin...and for what?" For a $5 property tax cut a year.

And on Walker's attempt to shred the Wisconsin Idea, the UW's mission statement:
"The whole tawdry sickens me because this is a sophomoric sideshow that is incredibly hurtful and not productive."

Schultz said “a number of people around the governor” are attacking education and educators “in a very mean-spirited way” for political purposes. “The bottom line for K-12 education is we cut, again, $135 million over the biennium to get a $5 per house tax cut, and I am just thinking whose idea of a priority is that?” It might be great for Governor Walker’s political ambitions, he said, but “What does it do for the people of Wisconsin?”

“This is nothing more than the wholesale destruction of the University of Wisconsin System, the greatest economic driver that we have in the state of Wisconsin.” Schultz said Walker’s rewriting of the UW mission statement and deletion of the Wisconsin Idea was a “sophomoric sideshow that is just incredibly hurtful and not productive.” It will make people wonder whether people are serious about education’s role in Wisconsin. “We can’t afford this kind of mean-spirited nonsense,” he said.

“This will continue unless every single person in Wisconsin takes this as a wake-up call and engages as every citizen ought to and speaks to their Legislature and responds to the governor’s proposal in a way that makes it clear that this is unacceptable. If we don’t do that, then I think the Wisconsin that many of us know and love will be a thing that will be a part of history.”

WIBA's McKenna: Walker's change to Wisconsin Idea a "small story," making him the great defender of Academic Freedom.

I listened to a few minutes of Vicki McKenna's radio show the other day, and not surprisingly, her rap on Scott Walker's trashing of the Wisconsin Idea was front and center. Oddly, I also didn't hear anything that was true or made any sense. She jumped from one unrelated outrage to another.

In the tank for Walker, and why Republicans hate the UW: It's a lot of the same old conservatives stuff about the UW; victimized conservatives on campus are not allowed to speak out, they're not allowed to disagree, they're not allowed to defend traditional marriage, they're not allowed to defend the free market, they're not allowed to say they're Republicans. Who knew they were so afraid of liberals. Not exactly the strong and courageous leadership qualities we hear so much about;  standing buy their principles and fighting against their liberal oppressors. They're still a bunch of sad pathetic whiny victims in total control of the state.

What was McKenna's ironic defense of free speech? "With all due respect, shut up liberals."  

Anecdotal Outrage: Conservatives love to tell stories, fact free whoppers of opinion. McKenna said a listener wrote to her about a Black History month event at the UW that served "smoked salmon-at 11 bucks a pound, vegetable egg rolls...all paid for by taxpayers!" Really? The source of these anecdotal "facts?" As McKenna explains; "The very last thing he writes is, 'please keep me anonymous, as I don't want to lose my job.'" Another courageous conservative whistle blower...and coward.  

McKenna somehow tied Scott Walker's flippant anti-intellectual rewriting of the Wisconsin Idea into free speech outrage. Even though it was Walker who scratched out the line ("basic to every purpose of the system is the search for truth"), and tossing it off as unimportant, McKenna accused liberals of doing what Walker did, saying "you're not allowed to search for the truth." My head hurts.

McKenna mixes up public with private university: Laughably, Vicki thinks liberals should defend the free speech rights of a professor at Marquette, a private religious university. Private colleges can do pretty much anything they want, without government interference. That should make Republicans very happy. But public colleges can't. They have to answer to the taxpayers. McKenna doesn't get it. It's one of the many downsides to privatized education.

As a former talk show host who sat across from McKenna for one long nightmarish year trying to get a word in edgewise, the example below is an embarrassing content free low for the profession.

Friday, February 6, 2015

UW Protests continue....

According to WEAC:
UW students, angry about budget cuts, greet Board of RegentsFive minutes before the meeting began, the group organizers announced they would go into the meeting to sit in silent protest with their signs held high. However, many demonstrators were not allowed into the meeting. As the number of protestors grew, the University Police shut the doors and said the room was at capacity.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

The reason behind Walker's methodical attack on all things Liberal, from Unions to the UW.

The latest news about Scott Walker's big UW defunding debacle now contradicts what he said earlier that it was just a blunder. It wasn't, his office requested the UW mission statement changes.
Walker proposed removing the Wisconsin Idea from UW's mission statement, then backtracked and said Thursday that it was a simple mistake that's being blown out of proportion. 
MSNBC's Chris Hayes added his insights, noting Walker's strategy to go after and weaken his opponents; first attacking Democratic supporting public unions, and now that bastion of liberalism, the UW.  Joining Hayes was PR Watch's Lisa Graves, who fleshed out the details and added so much more for curious voters across the country:

Walker caught in another big lie: Here's the latest from the jsonline:
Gov. Scott Walker and aides scrambled Thursday to respond to revelations that his administration had insisted to University of Wisconsin officials on scrapping the Wisconsin Idea, the guiding principle for the state's universities for more than a century.

In a rapid revision to his own comments on Wednesday, the Republican governor acknowledged that UW System officials had raised objections about the proposal.

They had been told the changes were not open to debate.

Republicans gunning for elimination of 48 hour “cooling off period” for handgun purchases: “If someone is intent on…murder, they will find a way to do it, be it a bat, knife….”

I'm hoping this isn't going over well with conservative voters. This daffy and radicalized imposter party that calls itself the Republican now wants to put loaded guns into the hands of pissed off abusers, neighbors, and party goers because, well, they don’t believe a 24 hour cooling off period is “a viable argument.” Nothing dangerous here. Below is the shocking press release from Rep. Jesse Kremer that presents three bizarre ideas:

1. Kremer is calling it a “time tax,” and we know how much Republicans hate taxes. So get rid of it. It’s all marketing folks, that’s what it is.

2. “Cooling down” periods are silly, no one should have to wait.

3. Local gun shops say raging gun owners may lose the dire to buy a gun. Getting rid of the waiting period will benefit them and their raging customers. What could go wrong?
“Yesterday, legislation to eliminate the 48 hour waiting period for handgun purchases … added to state law in 1976, prior to the implementation of statutory background checks. This antiquated, two day waiting period amounts to a time tax on Wisconsin businesses and consumers, forcing wasted time and money when background checks are often completed within an hour.”

“I understand that opponents of this legislation will argue that the two day period is an essential ‘cooling off’ period; However, I do not consider this a viable argument. If someone is intent on committing the crime of murder, they will find a way to do it — be it with a bat, knife or an illegally purchased weapon,” states Rep. Kremer.
Shockingly, Kremer is concerned about gun shops making money, screw the dead spouse and kids:
“In speaking with local businesses, the elimination of this waiting period will be a huge benefit to them and their customers, while still keeping the necessary checks in place to help prevent guns from falling into the hands of criminals.” 
Congratulations to those in the 59th Assembly District. I hope everyone in Southern Calumet, Western Sheboygan, Northern Washington and Eastern Fond du Lac Counties let their Representative know how great this idea is.

Students Protest Walker cuts to UW!!!

Stunned UW students are now deciding to take action against Americas anti-education Governor, Scott Walker. And it may just turn into a wave of statewide protests. CBS 15:

Milwaukee: More than a hundred UW Milwaukee students marched against a $300 Million cut for the University of Wisconsin system.

Jill Hoffman is a junior at UWM who helped organize the demonstration. "I didn't know how large it was going to grow," said Hoffman, "but I knew, I couldn't sit around and do nothing about these devastating cuts." "I shouldn't have to worry about my education, and becoming the change maker that I know I can be and that I know I need to be, because of the proposed cut," said Hoffman. "UW System is an economy booster, it is essential to Wisconsin's economy," said Hoffman.

"There's so many of us here who are paying out of pocket, that you know, working multiple jobs, taking 18 credits," said Charlie Shanaver, a student with UWM College Democrats.

They say the budget shouldn't come at the cost of college students who will ultimately contribute to the state's work force.

Walker's Supply Side Failure continues; Tax Cut deficits means never-ending spending cuts!!!

My original title for this blog post was, "Walker’s tax cut revenue shortages creates false choice for more cuts, to education and Public Radio/TV funding."

Scott Walker is intent on proving supply side austerity politics is infallible. If tax cuts fail to produce revenue, then just make more spending cuts. Kind of an endless downward cycle we're supposed to believe isn't a sign of failure. 

A reporter once asked about this, what he saw as a very big flaw in GOP policy. And to this day, Republican Sen. Alberta Darling’s answer has stayed with me. Here’s the audio proof:

Take Walker's plan to end funding for public radio and TV. He either assumes we're all pretty stupid, or we haven't paid any attention for the last 30 years watching Republicans try to destroy public media, including Big Bird. If you believe Walker, that's silly...:
Scott Walker said his decision to cut funding to public broadcasting is about balancing priorities. He said the move isn't personal.

“I don’t have anything against public broadcasting, but my bottom line is if I had to choose between putting money there or keeping money in our public schools, putting money into Medicaid, for us that was a priority,” said Walker.
Odd, those are both areas he's trying desperately to cut. But we wouldn't really have to choose if tax cuts worked the way Republicans say they work; by increasing revenues. In fact both tax and spending cuts appear to have reached a saturation point, creating large projected deficits.
Cuts to WPR and WPT sound like a done deal:
Republican state Rep. Dale Kooyenga told Wisconsin Public Radio host Joy Cardin on Wednesday morning the cuts can be made up.
“I am positive that the value of your product will definitely lead to more fundraising and innovation to get to that budget gap,” said Kooyenga.
Kooyenga isn't going to lose any sleep over this one, unless...
He said if the public calls for more funding for public broadcasting, he'd consider amending the budget.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Presidential wannabe Scott Walker's record as governor. Pt 1

Here's Scott Walker's record in graphs compiled by the Wisconsin Budget Project:

Presidential wannabe Scott Walker's Record as Milwaukee County Executive!

With Scott Walker's run for the presidency getting national attention, wouldn't it be great if the media had a chance to examine his record as...Milwaukee County Executive? It's a horrific. Let's get started:
1. He wanted to take the federal stimulus money and convert it into rebates and a sales tax holiday.

2. Wisconsin Republicans donated $73,000 to the African American Coalition for Empowerment (ACE) on behalf of then Governor Scott McCallum and Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker. Yesterday eight ACE workers were charged with 92 felony counts for forgery, perjury, election fraud and other election related crimes. These indictments come two days after the Republican Party of Wisconsin decried voter fraud in Milwaukee.

3. Gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker said he would consider cutting state-funded medical care for the poor, elderly and disabled in order to reduce state taxes if he's elected governor next year.

4. The state Elections Board wants Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker to pay a $5,000 fine because he failed to tell voters who paid for some of the phone calls he made last fall urging them to support his budget proposal.

5. Journal Sentinel- … Scott Walker's proposal to dismantle Milwaukee County government. Walker, the county executive who is running for governor, renewed his call to parcel out county functions to the state, municipalities and to governmental districts yet to be created. Walker has proposed having the state take over administration of public assistance programs, social services for seniors and people with disabilities, and the courts. Cities and villages could take over maintenance of county roads. 

6. Gov. Scott Walker's Milwaukee County executive office was using a secret Internet system as early as 2002, according to a former county administrator who said he helped set up the network.

7. Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker says he didn't mean to subject sheriff's deputies and jailers to eight unpaid furlough days next year, but others say one of his 2010 budget vetoes did just that. At stake is roughly $250,000 in savings counted toward next year's budget.

8. jsonline-Daniel Bice: Milwaukee County government is in such dire financial shape that state lawmakers should push through legislation that would allow it and other local governments to file for bankruptcy … So the Greater Milwaukee Committee released this unforgettable statement: "We don't want this to become some sort of political football during the fall election campaigns." Michael Grebe, the head of the conservative Bradley Foundation, is chairman of both the Greater Milwaukee Committee and the campaign for Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker. Grebe said, "it would be more effective for us to release after the election."

9. Jsonline: Milwaukee County's new director of economic development and his former business partner filed for bankruptcy after accumulating debts of more than $430,000 from the City of Milwaukee and the State of Wisconsin to help finance a failed central city custard stand, leaving taxpayers potentially on the hook for … well over a half-million dollars.
As it turned out, this cartoon was a dire warning:

Oh sure, Walker claims "drafting error" striking "educate people and improve human condition" and "search for truth" from "Wisconsin Idea," the UW mission statement.

A Republican target for years, the University of Wisconsin got its walking papers from the nations anti-education leader Scott Walker.

Just to make sure the UW didn't try any funny stuff or take itself to seriously, Walker made this treasured state institution sound like a motivational seminar:

Walker tried to back away from his untimely blunder by claiming it was a "drafting error"...really, that oddly selected just the right grouping of words gutting the "Wisconsin Idea." According Fox 6, earlier in the day, Walker had no problem with the "drafting error." Gee, what changed?

PRWatch: Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker struck "the search for truth" and the Wisconsin Idea from the university's mission in his executive budget bill unveiled last night.

First summed up by UW President Charles Van Hise in 1904, the Wisconsin Idea means that "the borders of the University are the borders of the state." Van Hise declared that he would “never be content until the beneficent influence of the university reaches every family in the state” and this has long been the core philosophy of the UW System, which has worked hard over the decades to generate programs that serve people and communities all over the state.
Walker is on tape endorsing the change on a Wednesday stop in DePere:

Update from jsonline: I came across one of Walker's clueless comments, along with important UW faculty reactions:
Walker said: "Learning's important, but ultimately it's most important for people to get the chance to get the education that they need to succeed in the workforce and in life,"
"I'm nearly speechless," said Mark Schwartz, a UW-Milwaukee distinguished professor geography and chairman of the faculty University Committee. "The budget cuts are one thing. This aims at the heart of the Wisconsin Idea and smashes it."
"It's a very materialistic definition of knowledge that's very off-putting to me," said James Baughman, a historian and Fetzer-Bascom professor at UW-Madison's School of Journalism and Mass Communication. "We aren't just training people to be workers," Baughman said. "We're training them to be citizens, to be leaders. It's not that we don't have a responsibility to serve people to get training, but it's a lot more than that."

Regulating Deregulation? Republican would allow dirty Restaurant employee hands.

How much deregulation are Republicans hoping for now that they control of congress? They shamefully have no limit. This is one of the most convoluted small government ideas yet:
Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.)  suggestion was that rules requiring restaurant workers to wash their hands before leaving the restroom are unnecessary.
"I don't have any problem with Starbucks if they choose to opt out of this policy as long as they post a sign that says we don't require our employees to wash their hands after leaving the restroom. The market will take care of that. It's one example," he said.
Mandated disclosure -- posting a sign announcing to customers that employees are not washing their hands … It's not clear whether the senator's solution would actually do anything to advance the free market beyond replacing one sign with another. 

Republican Ghouls eat up McKenna's Grotesque Offering...

After some deliberation, I decided to show you what talk radio's Vicki McKenna is posting on her Facebook site. Guess it helps to feed pictures like this into the frightened crowd of gun toting cowards. Just like my former conservative friend sending me an unwelcome picture of a beheaded ISIS prisoner, I'm getting the uneasy feeling right wingers get off on this stuff.

Walker voters back dismantling Public Education for a $5 a year property tax savings, a new low.

Scott Walker voters are getting easier to pay off; from $32 to just $5. But that's not all.

It’s also easy to take advantage of teachers, who’s calling in life is to help As disturbing as that would seem to any normal human being, it’s not disturbing enough for conservative Republican true believers.

Scott Walker bragged about doing just that when he said Act 10 didn't end up destroying public education after all. See, our dedicated public school teachers didn't quit their jobs or lose the passion they feel educating our kids. We knew we could take advantage of them.
Walker: “Recently, some have raised concerns about this (UW) proposed reform. These are some of the same claims we heard four years ago when our Act 10 reforms were enacted. Today, our graduation rates are higher, third grade reading scores are better, and Wisconsin ACT scores are second best in the country.
Never mind the endless hour’s teachers spend at school and at home devising better ways to capture the imagination and interest of their students. Or the roll out of Common Core standards and the ever changing advanced teaching methods used to broaden a child’s understanding of math, science, reading, etc. It's Walker's magical belief system that has made the difference. 

Walker’s odd answer to higher graduation rates and higher reading and ACT scores is to make massive changes to something he brags isn't broken. 

Ideologically it makes perfect upside-down sense to toss 4 years and tens of millions of dollars away that were invested in improving public education. Walker's into expanding a 25 year Milwaukee voucher experiment that hasn't improved a thing, and trolling for untrained "life experienced" teachers. That's just smart.  

Republican hatred for public education is based on those sneaky "liberal" teachers indoctrinating our students. As we know, private schools would never think to do that, with either religion or conservative orthodoxy online, at home or in their church classrooms. 

If all it takes is a mere $131 reduction in property taxes since 2010 ($32 a year), and another 5 dollar savings in each of the next two years to buy their loyalty, god help us.     

Tuesday, February 3, 2015's Public, stupid.

What nobody seems to be talking about is the obvious and underlying reason we guarantee a free public education in the first place; it's a social benefit that serves everyone. That's the reason it's in our constitution. Our university system is in there too, and affordable thanks to public support, by every taxpayer.

That's the fatal flaw in Scott Walker's plan to cut $300 million from the UW and make it more autonomous; college won't be affordable anymore. The same goes for his K-12 cuts. The eventual spread of vouchers and rise of family education savings accounts for K through 12 will shift the burden onto parents, and only parents, for what was once free.

But that's okay because many, mostly Republicans and businesses, will get to freeload off the backs of those who can least afford it. And the wealth gap will get even wider.

Since no one is bringing this up, I can only assume what I'm saying is old fashioned and outdated. The idea that we pay forward is so...yesterday.

I think the School Administrators Alliance said it best with this:
While Gov. Walker continues to boast about Wisconsin’s high ACT test scores, graduation rates and other measures of educational excellence, those results have actually been made possible by generations of Wisconsin citizens investing in a quality system of public schools.

Dumb Ron Johnson liked High Deductible HSA's before he was against them in ObamaCare.

Republican backed high deductible health savings accounts (HSA) were always a bad idea. Deductibles from $4,000 to $12,000 are now the norm. I know this because I had about 3 different versions in the individual market. Not only did I not have the deductible in an account, I gambled I wouldn't have to use it.

Now, according to Dumb Ron Johnson, high deductible plans are horrible and unaffordable because they’re a part of the Affordable Care Act.

Johnson even bragged that he provided high deductible Health Savings Accounts to his employees. Skin in the game. His logic at the time:
The U.S. should rip up the recently passed health reform law and emphasize free-market principles such as health savings accounts and out-of-pocket charges for as big a chunk of the country's medical care as possible, Johnson said. "You also then remove the insurance third party in the first $2,000, $3,000, $4,000 or $5000 of everybody's health care spending every year," Johnson said. Johnson credits health savings accounts for pushing consumers to get more attuned to the real cost of care. 
It was usually way above $5,000 too, but I digress. Now imagine the laugh I got when I saw this Dumb Ron Johnson tweet from last October:

They were always unaffordable. You're getting it now, after it's too late?

Extra: Johnson once said this about ObamaCare:
"I don't want to see the finest health-care system in the world that saved my daughter's life destroyed. And that's what we are moving toward."
Really? The doctor that saved Johnson’s daughter’s life disagreed. From January 2014:
His opposition to the law was the centerpiece of his 2010 campaign in which he often brought up the life-saving heart surgery his daughter, Carey, underwent as an infant.

The surgeon who performed the operation, John Foker, told the left-leaning blog Uppity Wisconsin that he was "generally supportive" of Obamacare … Foker, who teaches at the University of Minnesota Medical School, told the Journal Sentinel: "I'm generally supportive of having this country provide health insurance to its citizens so people aren't bankrupted having to go to the hospital. Health care should be considered a right, and we should figure out how to pay for it," Foker added.
Think that might have made Ron Johnson rethink his position?
Johnson said: "I have nothing but wonderful feelings about Dr. Foker. I love the man. He saved my daughter's life. I'm trying to save a health care system."

Monday, February 2, 2015

Big Scott Walker campaign supporter Ashley Furniture is getting "Big and Bold" OSHA fine for worker injuries that include lost fingers

The Scott Walker's campaign for president is all about being "big and bold," and taking workplace safety to the early 1900's. If you want to know what big and bold deregulation would look like under Walker, look no further then Ashley Furniture, possibly the most dangerous business in the state. 
jsonline: The U.S. Labor Department hit hard Monday at Ashley Furniture Industries Inc., seeking hefty fines and saying the Wisconsin firm is emphasizing profit over worker safety … fine Ashley nearly $1.8 million for a raft of safety violations.

Over three and a half years, workers experienced more than 1,000 work-related injuries … aren't small cuts and scrapes. All were what OSHA considers "recordable," meaning they required treatment by someone other than the injured person, said Mark Hysell, the agency's area director … "Ashley Furniture has created a culture that values production and profit over worker safety, and employees are paying the price," U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez said in a statement.
Of course that was the price of "freedom and liberty" at Ashley Furniture...lost appendages.
Ashley said it "strongly disputes the allegations  … and believes the proposed penalties are grossly inappropriate and overzealous."
Why would Ashley CEO Todd Wanek want to deny something he overzealously supports?
LaCrosse Tribune: From a table of literature spread out for visitors, Ron Wanek grabbed a flyer decrying federal regulations, including environmental, workplace and health care rules, saying, “This is what’s going to kill industry in the United States.”
He really did say that. Think OSHA is making this up?

Pay to Play Walker Authority: Do free market campaign donors get special favors? Come on, this is Walker: 
WSJ: The WEDC board, which is led by Gov. Scott Walker, OK'd Ashley Furniture getting $6 million tax credit, cutting 1,900 jobs … with a condition allowing the company to eliminate half of its state workforce … lay off half of its current 3,848 Wisconsin-based workers in exchange for an enterprise zone tax credit. The company has indicated “that if the project is not undertaken it will either downsize or close the Arcadia manufacturing plant completely.”  

WSJ: Less than a month after the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. board approved a $6 million tax credit for Ashley Furniture Industries, the company’s owners gave $20,000 to Gov. Scott Walker’s re-election campaign.
Our incidental governor would tell you he was unaware of the contribution. So what's got OSHA so uptight? Here are the gory details:
OSHA launched an investigation at Ashley after a worker lost three fingers last July while operating a woodworking machine without required safety mechanisms in place … The agency said more than 100 other injuries at Ashley were caused by similar machinery … OSHA identified 38 safety violations at Ashley, including 12 that were "willful" — violations committed "with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirement, or with plain indifference to employee safety and health."

Some of the violations involve lack of safety guards on dangerous machinery such as saws and drills. Ashley knew that the guards were required but "chose not to follow" the rules in the interest of production, Hysell said in an interview. He described Ashley's violations as "egregious."

OSHA launched its investigation after being told that a worker had lost fingers at the Arcadia plant in July, Hysell said. But before Jan. 1, Ashley — or any company — had no obligation to report workplace injuries such as amputations, Hysell said. A change in federal regulations that took effect on the first of the year now requires companies to report recordable injuries to OSHA.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Walker leads in Iowa, pushing "Bush Doctrine" of Preemptive Wars.

Who would have thought Scott Walker's tired old speech, with a little injected energy, could result in something like this;

ABC/This Week's Martha Raddatz stopped Scott Walker from "going back" to Obama's "red line," pressing him to "go forward" and explain what his "big bold idea" in Syria would be: 

Ironically, Walker represents more of a rerun of the Bush/Cheney years than Jeb Bush himself. Walker's calm detached demeanor is almost scary in light of taking the nation back to the Bush and preemptive wars, a failed foreign policy that ended tens of thousands of American and Iraqi lives. The cost of treating physically and mentally injured veterans will continue for 50 to 60 years, and opened the door to ISIS and other terrorist groups seeking power:
WALKER: Well, I think - I go back to the red line.

RADDATZ: Let's not go back. Let's go forward. What is your big, bold idea in Syria?

WALKER: I think aggressively, we need to take the fight to ISIS and any other radical Islamic terrorist in and around the world, because it's not a matter of when they attempt an attack on American soil, or not if I should say, it's when, and we need leadership that says clearly, not only amongst the United States but amongst our allies, that we're willing to take appropriate action. I think it should be surgical.

RADDATZ: You don't think 2,000 air strikes is taking it to ISIS in Syria and Iraq?

WALKER: I think we need to have an aggressive strategy anywhere around the world. I think it's a mistake to -

RADDATZ: But what does that mean? I don't know what aggressive strategy means. If we're bombing and we've done 2,000 air strikes, what does an aggressive strategy mean in foreign policy?

WALKER: I think anywhere and everywhere, we have to be - go beyond just aggressive air strikes. We have to look at other surgical methods. And ultimately, we have to be prepared to put boots on the ground if that's what it takes, because I think, you know--

RADDATZ: Boots on the ground in Syria? U.S. boots on the ground in Syria?

WALKER: I don't think that is an immediate plan, but I think anywhere in the world--

RADDATZ: But you would not rule that out.

WALKER: I wouldn't rule anything out. 
One more thing. Matthew Dowd said what the lazy press will be saying till the next election, and it's a major sticking point with me; what about Walker's actual record?
"He's a competent governor, so he's done that well..." 
Republican governors have failed miserably, worse than their Democratic counterparts, and yet the media doesn't seem to care.

The Amazing Conservative case for repealing ObamaCare and letting People Die!!! "That's Okay!"

Remember when Republicans argued against the Affordable Care Act’s non-existent death panels? They said it would be a form of government sanctioned death, resulting from a brutal form of rationing.

Flip Flop: Not only have they changed their mind, they are currently crafting a national message, debuting in the following Washington Post article. Eventually, bizarre Dickensian conservative rationalizations like this will work their way to the top of their platform. It’ll blow your mind.
Michael R. Strain- resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute: “Columnist Jonathan Chait wrote recently that those who may die are victims of ideology — “collateral damage” incurred in conservatives’ pursuit “of a larger goal.” If these are the stakes, many liberals argue, then ending Obamacare is immoral.

Except, it’s not.

In a world of scarce resources, a slightly higher mortality rate is an acceptable price to pay for certain goals — including more cash for other programs, such as those that help the poor; less government coercion and more individual liberty; more health-care choice for consumers, allowing them to find plans that better fit their needs; more money for taxpayers to spend themselves; and less federal health-care spending. This opinion is not immoral. Such choices are inevitable. They are made all the time.
A liberty loving conservative will love this stuff, because as Strain states very clearly, “This opinion is not immoral.” That guilt you’re feeling...let it go for liberty and “less health-care spending.”

Strain’s conservative rationalization included this odd comparison to speed limits and homicides:
Consider, for example, speed limits. By allowing people to drive their cars at speeds at which collisions result in death, our government has decided that the socially optimal number of traffic fatalities is not zero.

Likewise, thousands of people die in homicides in the United States every year. We could reduce this number substantially … (but) more intrusive monitoring, additional policing, stricter sentencing and other, harsher measures are not worth the benefit.
Strain is like every other conservative; they’ll warn everyone about the horrors of rationing, and then mindlessly suggest that rationing is good, moral, and most importantly saves money too.

And for those not as comfortable letting “some people die”…Strain eases their minds suggesting that he could be wrong...:
Repealing Obamacare could — although wouldn't necessarily — result in more people dying. But it clearly would not be immoral.
Clearly. The conservative Borg-like mind is now certain. Done.

EXTRA: Strain does offer a few “reform” ideas that will either bankrupt most families or look like a version of ObamaCare pieced back together with bailing twine. Strain blows any credibility by showing us he has no idea how expensive “low-probability events” will actually cost:
What should universal coverage look like? It requires a nuanced answer. The insurance system should be designed to financially protect people from low-probability events, rather than provide comprehensive coverage for all health events, as Obamacare envisions … universal coverage should concern itself with the catastrophic expenses associated with serious medical events.
Strain is also good using government force to get the wealthy to buy health care, what he calls “incentivizing.”
People who can afford such coverage should be incentivized to purchase it, and those who can’t should receive a government subsidy to do so (Like ObamaCare). It would require less spending, fewer tax dollars, less coercion and less regulation, leaving more money for other important government programs or for taxpayers to spend as they wish. 
Strain summarized the convoluted GOP plan below:
The Burr-Coburn-Hatch plan would repeal the Affordable Care Act, including the individual mandate to purchase insurance, and leave the current system of employer-sponsored coverage largely in place. It would cap the tax preference for employer-provided coverage (though only for extremely generous plans) and use the revenue to provide a tax credit for people who don’t get their health insurance through their jobs. Their plan would provide “continuous coverage” protection, so that people who remain enrolled in insurance can’t be financially penalized for getting sick; offer new federal funding for high-risk pools; and allow Medicaid participants to receive the tax credits and enroll in individual-market plans. A paramount goal of this proposal is to ensure that no one who is or becomes gravely ill goes without adequate medical care.

The plan has not been scored by the Congressional Budget Office, but according to the Center for Health and Economy, a health-care research organization, relative to Obamacare the senators’ proposal would lower premiums, result in roughly the same number of individuals covered by insurance policies and yield a significant 10-year net budget savings.
Translated; the lower premiums cover fewer medical events; “the same number covered by insurance” means 40 to 50 million people will be without coverage again; and the government will save money by abandoning the people they were supposed to protect.