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Saturday, June 13, 2015

Judge awards damages to Capitol protesters arrested for their 1st Amendment freedom to redress their government.

The Walker Authority has done everything they can to push the limits of the law, from judge shopping around the state to sending everything to the conservative activist supreme court. They’ve won a few too, Act 10, domestic partnership and voter ID.

That phony “Constitutional” high ground is now another Scott Walker sink hole.
   
Walker lost a big one back in January against the Capitol protesters, for repealing part of the 1st Amendment and the following section of the state constitution.
Article I, Section 4, reads: “The right of the people peaceably to assemble, to consult for the common good, and to petition the government or any department thereof shall never be abridged.”
This was an obvious attack on protesting Wisconsinites, many vilified as thugs, vandals and out of state agitators. A judge has now awarded those protesters damages from the DOA, for loss of liberty, emotional distress and damage to reputation. This was a case of government intimidation, pure and simple. Here’s hoping the rest of the nation gets a closer look at what Walker will undoubtedly bring to the White House. Here's the coverage from WKOW's Greg Neumann:

WKOW: The lawyer representing six protesters who won a combined $44,830 in damages from the State of Wisconsin earlier this week believes the total cost for unconstitutional arrests and fines handed out by Capitol Police since 2011 could ultimately run over $1 million. Dane County Judge Frank Remington awarded the first set of damages to Capitol protesters on Tuesday.
Capitol Police were enforcing a rule in the state administrative code that required a permit to hold a sign on state property. Olson filed claims early on in the process challenging the legality of that section of the code, and thus, the lawfulness of the arrests. "We finally got … the state to own up to the fact that that was the rule at issue," said Olson. 

Olson is now going after damages associated with his clients' civil rights case … “well into the six figures” … he represents at least ten more clients seeking damages … anyone arrested under that administrative rule (estimates that over 100 people) could be eligible for awards, as well as another rule that required a permit for the Solidarity Singers. 
The comments section presented the scary side of our majority one party dictatorship:
Peacefull demonstrations is one thing, and so is freedom of speech, but take a look at the picture above that went on for many weeks, all over governor Walker being elected in a free speech voting system and doing what he said he was going to do. They practically shut down Wisconsin govt and made it almost impossible for lawmakers to go about their daily business that taxpayers expect them to do. Other people were obstructed from visiting the capitol along with many many school field trips meant to tech kids about how govt works and what the vote is all about. Denying other people their rights. Freedom of speech is one thing, but hiding behind it to create chaos and anarchy while disrespecting everyone who voted different than them is something else. Its almost in the category of hate speech and yelling fire in a theatre. 
Or this....
Most people outside of the bubble of Madison are level headed accept the vote outcome whether repub, democrat, far left liberal, or whatever. All this shenanigans in the capitol did was reinforce the vote for Walker again which is a sad thing in a society that is supposed to be a democratic system. 

Kate: don't worry about it. you will be the one's paying out all the money to the protester when they raise your taxes to pay it to the poor protesters that should just get out and get a regular job. instead of jut running from state to state to protest for something that some one else did wrong by breaking the law on a regular bases. just pay your taxes so those people can do nothing but collect from the tax payers.

Kooyenga scheme to eliminate Alternative Minimum Tax not just handout to wealthy, but to simplify tax code, clean it up.

They’re called the “accountant caucus,” a group of self-righteous supply side republican legislators desperately trying to fit their agenda into the real world. It’s not working, but they won't admit it.  

Leading that charge is Rep. Dale Kooyenga. When he helped pass the “freeload for Big Ag and Manufacturing” tax cut, along with misguided compression of the tax brackets, he never accounted for the alternative minimum tax affect on business owners, an unintended consequence that he's now trying fix
Many more taxpayers including small-business owners became affected by the state alternative minimum tax after lawmakers and Walker passed manufacturing and agriculture tax credits in 2013. 
Funny thing, conservatives who hate the freeloading poor and unemployed don't mind Walker's ticket to corporate freeloading. In some cases, these freeloading tax free businesses will get a tax refund if their deductions are especially high.
The tax is meant to ensure filers with large amounts of tax deductions or exclusions pay a minimum amount of income tax.
Big surprise?
Kooyenga's tax cut has so blatantly targeted the wealthy that he's trying to disguise it;
Kooyenga framed his proposal as a means to simplify Wisconsin’s tax code. “We’re not pushing for tax cuts. We’re pushing for a tax cleanup,” he said. So by making the tax code less complicated, you're making it more advantageous to growth."
UPDATE: Thanks to Jake's Economic TA Funhouse, it looks like Kooyenga is trying to quickly repair a mistake that cost his wealth conservative constituents plenty:
The largest increases, both in the count of taxpayers subject to the minimum tax and in AMT liability, occurred for taxpayers with AGI of $200,000 to $500,000. In this income group, the count increased from 2,552 to 20,081, and the total AMT liability increased from $2.2 million to $14.3 million. By combining the third and fourth tax brackets, Act 20 created a bracket which is quite wide … Previously, the marginal rates were at or above the AMT rate, but now the rate for the combined brackets is below the AMT rate. 
Remember, Kooyenga's claim to fame centers on his experience as an accountant. Nice one Dale.

And not hearing a peep out of conservative voters.

Wealth Envy? In case you’ve missed it, the richest in our state continue to get “help” with their taxes, while the rest of us are supposed to be happy with a $5 a year tax savings.

Rep. Chris Taylor pointed out how obvious this agenda has been:
Republicans already gave this group a large tax cut in 2013 when they collapsed tax brackets so that a family making $30,000 annually now pays the same tax rate as a family making $325,000.

Between 2013 and 2015, this scheme reduced our state revenues by $647 million.

According to the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, Republicans have spent $1.9 billion in various tax giveaways between 2011 and 2014.

Including a $60 million tax cut for wealthy parents who send their children to private schools.
And now we’re about to see the elimination of the AMT, at the same time Republicans are making massive cuts to past public investments and complaining about a very tight state budge.
Indian Country Communications Chief Executive Officer Paul DeMain said that the "base" that conservatives are calling for to be broadened are actually picking up more and more of the tax liability instead of the wealthy.
NOTE: Kooyenga continues to blame the budget shortfall this time around on the big increase in Medicaid spending. But here's the thing; he knew that was coming, and could have planned for it. Instead, he's blaming BadgerCare help for the uninsured. Priorities?

Friday, June 12, 2015

Walker tells nation, academic freedom and public education must end.

Scott Walker made it very clear about his plans for public education. The title of his opinion piece, in the Des Moines Register, was "We changed broken education system." It wasn't for the good, but yes, he changed it.

K-12: Walker injected private sector principles into what we decided long ago would be "public." There was a reason we took the profit motive out of it. But that's over. Teachers can now focus on their paychecks, and not concern themselves with their community or commodified kids. There's always someone who'll pay them more, right? 

Walker wrote about all the choices parents will have from the growing number of competing businesses offering an education that's out-of-this-world...or so says the advertising brochure. Remember, parents know this stuff instinctively, and will make the right choices. We trust them, and they like it when we say that. But if they're not happy, they can always send a nasty letter to the schools CEO, via their public relations department:  
Walker: "I believe that every child deserves access to a great education — be it at a traditional public, charter, choice, private, virtual or home school environment. We need leaders who value quality choices and who trust parents to put the interests of their children first."
UW: The same is true of our great public university. Thank god Walker took care of that, before he focused all his attention the presidency. Check out the following article about Scott Walker's irrational attack on the UW system by Forbes' contributor Steve Salsberg:
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's Dual Attacks on The University of Wisconsin: Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker really doesn’t like professors. He seems to have a special grudge against the University of Wisconsin, against which he has launched a two-pronged attack this year.

It’s rare for a governor to attack the flagship university in his own state. Governors usually do just the opposite, promoting their universities to the rest of the world whenever the opportunity arises. Thus it’s surprising–startling, really–to observe how Scott Walker is waging a war on academic freedom in his home state of Wisconsin. Let’s look at what he’s doing, and then ask why.

First, back in January he proposed an enormous $300 million cut to the University of Wisconsin’s budget, at a time when other state universities are finally recovering from the recession. Now he’s proposing to get rid of academic tenure, not only threatening faculty jobs but also destroying academic freedom for professors at the University of Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin faculty responded that this new policy, if implemented, will inflict lasting damage on a highly successful institution….It would be difficult to overstate how destructive and unnecessary the [legislature's] proposed changes to tenure and shared governance are.

Perhaps the reason behind Walker’s dislike of academia is that he thinks that professors are too liberal. If true, this is deeply disturbing: it means he wants to stifle speech that he disagrees with. This kind of repression of scholarship is one of the most important reasons for tenure in the first place. One doesn’t have to look far–hello, Vladimir Putin?–to find examples of how powerful politicians can suppress speech, to the detriment of their societies.

As UC Irvine’s Mark Levine wrote this week, none of academia’s core functions could occur without tenure and the assurance of academic freedom it enables.

The leaders of a national university governing board association (agreed), pointing out that under Walker’s proposed new policy, “decisions about a tenured faculty member’s service could be based less on performance and institutional finances and more on the political or personal views of board members.”

Governor Walker’s actions make even less sense when viewed from outside the state, where the University of Wisconsin is considered one of the nation’s top public universities (currently ranked 13th among public schools).

Walker is sending a message that professors at Wisconsin should sit down and shut up. It’s disturbing that Wisconsin’s governor is using his power not only to weaken one of the state’s biggest assets, but also to attack the free expression of ideas. I can’t come up with any explanation for his actions that doesn’t appear vindictive and short-sighted. This isn’t the kind of behavior I want in any politician, and certainly not in someone who wants to be the most powerful politician in the nation.

Netflix Watch still better than Apple.

It's a parody, and I hate Apple:

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Concealed Carry Groups trying to hide behind laws banning data collection, keeping public in the dark about real impact of guns.

Gun toting freaks in the legislature and on our streets nationwide have done all they could to hide the impact of fast and loose gun laws. If law enforcement can't collect the data, then all is well, what we don't know may hurt us...but we just can't say for sure. 

The brain trust carrying guns?
As adults, we didn't have to let it get this far and let these bullies call the most ridiculous shots. 

So hows concealed carry working out? Just wonderful since it's against the law to find out. Seriously, what are they afraid of, and what are they intentionally trying to hide? jsonline:
Milwaukee police say it's impossible to know from their records because it is illegal to reveal how many criminal incidents involve permit holders. Indeed, Wisconsin's concealed carry law, 2011's Act 35, explicitly prohibits law enforcement agencies from sorting their records by whether anyone involved had a permit.
Are you ready for the lamest excuse ever? You’d think with all the groups nationwide and the time they had to think about it, they could have come up with something? Take note of “on our members.”
Nik Clark, president of gun rights advocacy group Wisconsin Carry Inc., defends that practice. "It's not going to be in the proper context," Clark said. "There's no need to expose and collect aggregate data on our members."
Members? Anyone can get a concealed carry permit, there’s no “club” or membership that I know of, and not everyone believes collecting data is a problem.

But Clark, a control freak, thinks he speaks for all “members” carrying guns.

Here's a chart:

Billionaire Bucks Arena gets funding from Debt Collections and Penalty Fees from the Poor.

Corporate welfare has now completely displaced public funding for the common good. Like our public colleges. Although not a direct exchange of money, it's awful close, and highlights what really matters now in our Republican hellhole of a state.

Now word is getting out that the poor and fiscally strapped Wisconsinites will be the ones paying for the Buck's arena. As WPR's Shawn Johnson explains, the idea is ruthless:



This is outrageous beyond words, so I'm glad Think Progress saved me from having to write about this:
Wisconsinites Blast Scott Walker’s Stadium Deal As ‘Outrageous’: Building a new, publicly financed basketball stadium for the Milwaukee Bucks is either a horrendous example of corporate welfare and official corruption, or a chance to reinvigorate an economically depressed city. Several local officials are also speaking out against the county’s promise to collect $4 million per year in unpaid debts from residents, plus a penalty fee of 15 percent, to contribute to the stadium. For example, a woman who owed $1,000 for an old traffic ticket would be charged $1,150.

Milwaukee County Supervisor John Weishan, Jr. called the proposal to go after unpaid ambulance rides, delinquent property taxes and court fees “crony capitalism.”

“This plan shifts the cost of the new arena from the state and the Milwaukee Bucks’ new wealthy owners to the poorest in our communityI will not foreclose on someone’s home or shake down a senior for unpaid medical bills in order to build an arena for millionaires and billionaires.”

Whether or not it’s morally right to collect these debts to pay for the stadium, some county officials say it may not be possible, because most of the residents that owe that money are indigent.
Really Bad for other Local businesses: Redistributes wealth upward:
Economics professor Michael Rosen at Milwaukee Area Technical College said, “People have a fixed entertainment budget. So if they go see the Bucks and spend $60 or $80 on a ticket, that’s money they’re not using to go to the theater or movies or out to eat. It’s not new money, it’s just redistributed. That’s why stadiums have no positive impact on economic growth.” He also noted that most Bucks player don’t live year-round in Milwaukee, so “millions of dollars in their salaries will leak out of the community.”
Walker's corporate Socialism; otherwise known as neo-fascism: The major media is now sounding the alarm as well:
Scott Walker, Our First Socialist President: First, the Communists: Socialism is "a way of organizing a society in which major industries are owned and controlled by the government." It's the state of Wisconsin using tax dollars to build a sports arena for the billionaire owners of the Milwaukee Bucks, and its main proponent is Governor Scott Walker.

If Gov. Walker is to be the candidate of the true believers, the free market, Ayn Rand, and austerity bugs, he's got some explaining to do. What's going on is something of a hypocrisy test. If socialism is bad, if Obamacare is bad, if income redistribution is bad, well, how can two hundred million in corporate subsidies be good? Obama, by the way, has jumped onto the sports as socialism issue and proposed an end to federal tax subsidies for sports facilities. He's absolutely right as a matter of economic policies. We can't get our roads fixed, but we can subsidize the richest and most successful corporations in America. I don't think so.

Ryan Lyin' again about Affordable Care Act Premium Increases and those problematic tax credits.

Paul Ryan is at it again, making broad unmistakably big lies about the Affordable Care Act.

Ryan knows if he sounded really-really convinced, and took a ridiculously strong position, many Americans would just assume what he's saying is true. Like this:
Rep. Paul Ryan spoke as his panel began questioning Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell about the law. Ryan cited requests by many insurance companies for double-digit rate increases for next year as evidence that the health care overhaul isn't working. 
Oops, if that were the standard use to determine the success or failure of ObamaCare, then health insurance before the Affordable Care Act was also a massive failure.

The chart above shows the incredible premium increases prior to the Great Recession starting in 1999 to 2007. The recession forced insurers to stop raising prices due to the struggling economy.  

Below, Ryan read carefully from his prepared statement, because he had to get the biggest lie just right;
"ObamaCare is just flat busted. It just doesn't work. And no fix can change that fact."
Wow. And he had nothing to back that up except his strongly asserted lie.

Also in the video clip is Democratic Texas Rep. Lloyd Doggett, who surprised me with a very effective attack on Ryan's blatant agenda.
Doggett: "...we have an historic moment, where chairman Paul Ryan is saying to that supreme court, "Please deny $52 million a month in federal tax relief to the people of Wisconsin because I have such an ideological commitment to destroy this president and his health care plan..."


MSNBC's Steve Benen wrote this about our not so wonkish "genius:"
GOP lawmakers have gone from making a series of spectacularly wrong predictions to simply buying their heads in the sand, pretending real-world results don’t exist. It’s almost sad to watch.

The L.A. Times’ Michael Hiltzik flagged this gem yesterday: Ryan seemed to think that would be a good thing, or at least that providing subsidies so people can have coverage is a bad thing. The federal government, he said, “has sent millions of subsidies out the door, putting millions of people at risk.” Interesting outlook: he’s saying that helping people puts them at risk, and a lawsuit backed by the Republican establishment that would strip away that assistance will be good for them.

Sahil Kapur flagged this Bloomberg Politics report, which reinforced fears that Paul Ryan simply doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Representative Paul Ryan said, “We will have a Republican alternative to deal with this, so that people who are caught in the crossfire of this unconstitutional law – should the court determine that it’s unconstitutional…” 

But King v. Burwell isn’t a challenge to the law’s constitutionality … the frequency with which Paul Ryan makes absurd claims should cast doubt over his credibility. 

Republican Rep. Sensenbrenner blocks climate change provisions in trade deal.

Because Republicans can’t win over the public with the oil industries irrational argument against climate change, the next best step would be to censor speech specifically addressing climate change. Yes, this is actual government censorship of free speech. Remember?
Bloomberg News: Discussing climate change is out of bounds for workers at a state agency in Wisconsin. So is any work related to climate change—even responding to e-mails about the topic … Wisconsin’s Board of Commissioners of Public Lands overseeing an agency that benefits schools and communities in the state, enacted the staff ban on climate change. 
That’s just the tip of the melting iceberg. 

When it comes to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, our own Republican Rep. James Sensenbrenner is determined to make a really bad trade deal even worse, by making sure we never have to deal with climate change, ever...
NY Times: For Representative F. James Sensenbrenner, there is language promising that no trade deals can compel the United States to address climate change
Really, not even to play it safe...you know, just in case? Nope, nothing, nada, zip it.

The Republicans have devised a sneaky way to move wish list lunacy like this into a separate “enforcement” bill on trade:
A separate bill, on customs and trade law enforcement, would move in concert with those (the trade bills) as a catchall for pet provisions.
So Sensenbrenner is happy the devastatingly costly effects of climate change won't be solved anytime soon. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Tenure written out of state law, but penalties written in....

You're hearing it a lot now from conservative pundits and Republican politicians; tenure hasn't changed, now that the UW will watch over it. But that's not true at all.

That's why it seems crazy the clueless commentary seen here from blogger Christian Schneider was ever allowed to make print in the Journal Sentinel.

While lawmakers complained and did away with a Wisconsin law protecting tenure, they replaced it with another state law allowing dramatic penalties against tenured faculty. Huh?

From WPT's Here and Now, the most amazing observation from UW Milwaukee English Professor Richard Grusin:


No, Republicans aren't at all racist...

This stunning image got a whole lot of retweets from right wingers. See if you can spot the bigotry, racism, and religious fundamentalism:


State Republicans refuse to take Walker policy heat, described in new video.

What an odd coincidence? The same day Scott Walker recommended to the nation how much we would love his massive cuts to education (actually unpopular in every community throughout the state), this video presentation featuring the Republican legislatures outright rejection of his policies came out.

A fitting "tribute:"
Scott Walker's op-ed on K-12 education: Act 10 'changed that broken system: Gov. Scott Walker said in an opinion column this week that changes to Wisconsin’s education landscape under his governorship are types of “reforms” that could be pushed across the country.
That "broken system" year after year places Wisconsin in the top three highest ranking states for education.

Here's American Bridge 21st Century's nice compilation of rejected policies:

Democrats and Independents Want Affordable Care Act Federal Exchange Tax Credits!!!

There's a lot of talk about the activist conservative supreme court knocking down the federal tax credits on the exchanges, but not enough talk about how the public feels. It's time we take a look:


Good Riddance....

Won't miss ya one bit...let's hope it's a trend:










The Affordable Care Act barred health insurers from turning away customers because of pre-existing health conditions. That new regulation negated one of Assurant Health's strengths: underwriting, or determining which potential customers were the best risks. "That went away," said Schwartz of Raymond James.

Republican Fiscal Clowns Propose Politically Filtered Audits.

So, Republican voters would rather not know if their hard earned money is being spent wisely by their party leaders? I guess we shouldn’t be too surprised after seeing how easy it was for Walker to just keep borrowing money for transportation with no constituent outrage.  
Tweedledee and Tweedledumb!!!

I also wondered why I didn’t hear a peep out of “stand with Walker” trolls when Scottie wanted to change WEDC again, but this time with no financial oversight whatsoever.  

When that happened, Walker and his band of legislative pirates took their cue, and thought, “what the heck let’s get rid of the Legislative Audit Bureau.” After-all, they catch bad management after the fact, when it’s too late, embarrassing for them, at when no one cares anymore. Check out the pretzel logic:
Wisconsin Republicans propose abolishing the Legislative Audit Bureau: The Legislative Audit Bureau has been the source of some bad news lately for Republicans and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation they created in 2011. Now, two GOP lawmakers have a solution: eliminate the bureau.

State Reps. David Craig and Adam Jarchow, are looking for co-sponsors for their proposal to abolish the audit bureau and replace it with independent inspectors general who would be placed in state agencies … an email the two representatives sent to fellow lawmakers; "Unfortunately, the statutory process under which the LAB operates focuses more on retrospective examination rather than proactive fiscal action and bad practice deterrence. In many instances, by the time an audit has occurred the political will (or new legislative composition) necessary to change a state program has diminished." In recent years, the audit bureau has uncovered numerous problems with the state's flagship job creation agency, which is chaired by Gov. Scott Walker. 
So why not give politicians complete control over the messaging, the audits…or concealment of the data? I'll bet there won't be a peep from the conservative peanut gallery we know as low information voters:
"Why would legislators want to do away with the Legislative Audit Bureau?" said state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, the Democratic caucus vice chair. "Could it be they don't want to know what's happening?" Vinehout said the bill would put audits under the direction of the leaders in the GOP-controlled Legislature, as opposed to the current system of having the LAB overseen by a bipartisan legislative committee. "The breadth of their ignorance of the LAB is staggering," Vinehout said. "It shows a complete unfamiliarity with the skills of the auditors, the efficiencies in government that the LAB helped create, with the fraud, waste and abuse that the auditors have discovered, and further prevented through their oversight."

Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, D-Kenosha called the proposal one of the worst ideas in a legislative session fraught with bad ideas. “Changing the nonpartisan, award-winning Legislative Audit Bureau into partisan appointees continues the Republican efforts to reduce oversight of state government," he said.
 This letter to the editor says it all:
I cannot but express my utter embarrassment to be a registered Republican. Already a rarity in Madison and Dane County, I would hope Republicans would value my vote enough to be mindful that I vote based on rationality and that eliminating a government post in retribution for its doing a good job is one of the most counter-intuitive proposals I have read in years. Politics play a role but when a quality organization such as the LAB is subject to petty attempts at retribution for pointing out the obvious failures of one of the governor’s pet projects, the politics have gone too far.
Esquire columnist Charles Pierce wrote this wonderfully insightful piece:
First, they went after the state's Government Accountability Board, the eight-year old watchdog agency that, among other things, allowed the citizens to attempt to recall Walker and some of his more conspicuous lapdogs. And now, because it is doing what it is chartered to do, and is investigating whether or not Walker's campaigns illegally coordinated with "outside" groups in his past few campaigns, the pet legislature is proposing to "restructure" it. Keep that phrase in mind.

Then, in the wake of Walker's having been fired from his own economic development corporation, the pack of poodles descended on something called the Legislative Audit Bureau, which was central to demonstrating what a waste of cheap cronyism said agency was. This is especially egregious in this case because Scott Walker never has held a political office that he has not so deformed by his political ambitions that people actually went to jail over it. This is a singularly corrupt man, even by the standards of the our new era of decriminalized influence peddling. He never has run a campaign in his life that wasn't shot through with penny-ante grifting. There is no reason to believe this one is any different.

"Stand with Walker" Trolls say Higher Taxes a Job Killer!!! Wrong Again.

Even Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger couldn’t convince his party to eliminate the states massive deficit hole. That no tax pledge wasn't just a killer, it was a reason to cut the required spending that would lead to a Democratic economic recovery. And they couldn't let that happen.

My reason for bringing this up came from this ridiculous bubble world tweet from the usual list of “stand with Walker” trolls:


Okay, let's ask California. Just call me the troll killer. And yes, I've also asked these guys to provide proof, a link, anything to back up their fictions. Nothing.

They would be shocked, knowing the truth below:
California's budget surplus soars to new heights; schools to benefit: The state's revenue has climbed as much as $8 billion in the last four months.  The surplus was originally projected to be about $2 billion. California's financial outlook couldn't be more different now than it was just a few years ago in the depths of the state's fiscal crisis -- at one point the budget deficit hit $26.6 billion.
You can thank California Republicans for holding up tax increases that created that $26.6 billion deficit. Once they lost the ability to hold up their legislature, Democrats went back to work and made up for lost time, adjusting their progressive tax brackets and sales tax.

Did higher taxes make the wealthy give up trying? Did the wealthy flee the state? Of course not.

But getting back to the trolls preposterous tweet: Did high taxes kill job creation?
According to the numbers, job growth was concentrated in places that raised taxes, such as California … where voters in 2012 elected to increase both sales and income taxes beginning in 2013. Last year California ranked third in job growth at 2.9 percent, much better than the national average of 1.8 percent. Every 13th new job in America was created in just four California counties.
Here’s how Gov. Jerry Brown and the Democrats led California down the path to recovery:
This highly concentrated growth occurred after the California tax increases, Proposition 30, took effect for all Californians, but especially the top 3 percent. The new “millionaire’s rate” is a 29-percent increase in the marginal rate compared with 2012. In dollar terms, the cost is an additional $33,000 on each million dollars for those already making $1 million or more.
What made the "Stand with Walker" troll lie about California, and "job killing" higher taxes, were the following two charts in a Daily Kos post. Supply side economics is not easy to defend, now that we're able to see the results from GOP dominated states:


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Sen. Steve Nass already challenging academic freedom, calls for Professor's termination.

Before the ink is dry and the new rules on tenure are signed into law, Republican State Sen. Steve Nass was already asking the UW to fire a professor he did not agree with, accusing him of "partisan garbage research" and "hiding behind academic freedom."

Really, "hiding" behind academic freedom. Outrageous, what scoundrel. Tenure was in place to protect against this exact thing, ironically proving the point opponents made about the GOP changes back in March:
Tenure by definition offers protection for academic freedom, grounded in a conviction that creating knowledge and expressing ideas should be free from intimidation or retaliation. Under policy currently in state law, tenured professors can only be dismissed for just cause or a campus wide financial emergency.
Nass' iron fisted control over academic research is only the beginning:
State Sen. Steve Nass blasted a UW-Madison economics professor in a scathing email ... calling the academic's report on right-to-work legislation and economic performance "partisan, garbage research."

The email, sent to Senate and Assembly Republicans and UW System officials with the subject line "UW-Madison Professor Steven Deller Uses State Resources to Trash Right to Work," cites a two-page fact sheet written by a Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics faculty member.
"Attached is yet another example of wasted resources at the UW-Madison/UW Extension to issue a trumped up report from a partisan academic against Right to Work. Hiding behind academic freedom to issue partisan, garbage research is what we have come to expect from some of the overworked and stressed faculty at UW-Madison.

I will certainly forward this email on to UW System President Ray Cross and UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank, as just one suggestion of a faculty member with time to teach more courses. Or maybe not!"
Nass has been the enemy of public education for years:
Nass, an outspoken UW System critic who chairs the Senate Committee on Labor and Government Reform, took issue with Deller's findings, the way they were presented and released to the public, says his chief of staff, Mike Mikalsen.

"Steve is frustrated with what we see as a faculty member abusing their position within the UW System to issue, frankly, just pure garbage research," Mikalsen says. "This piece clearly takes a side or a position."
Yes, research and facts eventually took a side...funny how that works:
Deller, who works with the UW Extension's Center for Community and Economic Development, says he wrote the report about a month ago with the intention of providing individuals with an overview of the controversial anti-union legislation. "I tried to make it as objective as possible," says Deller. The report summarizes the common arguments for and against right-to-work legislation, acknowledging that there is "little agreement within the literature that has attempted to empirically document the impact of [right-to-work] laws."
Does this sound like a partisan researchers to you?
Deller says the cooperation between UW System academics and government officials is a two-way street: Researchers shouldn't use the university as a "bully pulpit" to promote a political ideology, but lawmakers "shouldn't shoot the messenger."

"We try to provide information and ideas and let citizens make a decision," Deller says. "If we filtered everything that came out of the university based on whether or not it's going to pass through some political lens, then why are we here?"
Ever more proof this guy is pretty impartial:
Deller, coincidentally, says he declined to join a union when he taught at the University of Maine, opting instead to donate the dues he would have paid to a general scholarship fund that the university used to support low-income students. The donation option was the alternative the University of Maine offered to address the issue of "free riders," or employees who benefit from union contracts without paying for membership. "I think you could set up the same thing in Wisconsin," Deller says.

Using income, poverty and unemployment data from states with and without the anti-union legislation and comparing them using a statistical test to identify significant differences, Deller found that "right-to-work states tend to have lower manufacturing wages and overall income levels, higher poverty rates and lower education levels."

Mikalsen also questioned whether Deller, who has a doctorate in agricultural economics and a master's in economics, was even qualified to present findings on the topic of right-to-work.

Public Education turned "Consumerist and Hyper-protective."

In a few more years, at least in the next biennial budget, the course of education in Wisconsin will be forever changed. There is a point where saving public education will be an almost impossible task, especially when you think of the timid way Democrats roll out their own agenda. 

The following opinion was that epiphanic moment for me, when I realized how Republicans have turned a responsibility to educate the next generation, into a product (education) we shop for (choice) to be consumed (by kids) for a profit. We've turned children into a commodity, and parents into a target audience for unbelievable advertising. 

And this odd new public educational system will spur on a religious renaissance, where kids are taught early and often about religion. It's an end run around dwindling Sunday church services, and a little thing called the Constitution.
VOX.Com: "Things have changed since I started teaching. The vibe is different. Not, like, in a person-by-person sense, but students in general. The student-teacher dynamic has been reenvisioned along a line that's simultaneously consumerist and hyper-protective, giving each and every student the ability to claim Grievous Harm in nearly any circumstance, after any affront, and a teacher's formal ability to respond to these claims is limited at best.

The academic job market is brutal. Teachers who are not tenured or tenure-track faculty members have no right to due process before being dismissed, and there's a mile-long line of applicants eager to take their place. And as writer and academic Freddie DeBoer writes, they don't even have to be formally fired — they can just not get rehired. In this type of environment, boat-rocking isn't just dangerous, it's suicidal, and so teachers limit their lessons to things they know won't upset anybody.

I got called into my director's office. I was shown an email, sender name redacted, alleging that I "possessed communistical [sic] sympathies and refused to tell more than one side of the story." The story in question wasn't described, but I suspect it had do to with whether or not the economic collapse was caused by poor black people." - Edward Schlosser

Monday, June 8, 2015

Walker's Wimpy Ribs Eating Gloves Shocker!!!

Wisconsinites speechless over Walker's bizarre rib eating behavior. I don't even wanna know what he wears chomping down a brat?


Another reason to have a $15 minimum wage; a decent place to live.

A $15 minimum wage would go a long way to help renters:


New Walker regent says the UW is like a "company that has multiple manufacturing locations."

Scott Walker’s latest appointment to the board of regents pretty much signaled the end of the UW as a place to learn. Who is he, and what tie does he have to the conservative power structure overseeing our neo-fascist state now?
Gov. Scott Walker has appointed the son of a president of a foundation that supports conservative causes to the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents … Mike M. Grebe, son of Michael W. Grebe, president and chief executive of the Bradley Foundation … that has backed a number of conservative public policy experiments, including welfare reform and voucher schools. Michael W. Grebe also has served as chairman of Walker's campaign.
It takes balls and endless amounts of partisan arrogance to take cronyism to this level.

But it was Grebe’s breathtaking suggestion that the UW strive to be more like a manufacturing company with specialized products that fined tuned Walker's objective.

Grebe suggested getting rid of similar UW programs offered up by a number of campuses to save money. Never mind how it narrows your UW choices, or how local students will have to move to another campus costing them room and board. Spoken like a guy with lots of money already. From WPR’s Shawn Johnson:
Grebe: "Why we would need to duplicate those programs...spread around the state in a rational way, but in a way that doesn't unnecessarily expend resources...how to think about how we operate the UW system. Again it gets to, if you work for a company that has multiple manufacturing locations, you might not do the same thing at every one of those locations, because your customer base will be different. You might specialize in one area or another on certain products."
He is talking about a place where people learn, right, not a "manufacturing" plant specializing in products for a certain "customer base?" Amazing.


Coincidentally, today’s Salon offered up this article, “Massive endowments, massive tuition, massive debt: Our colleges are out of control and crushing students,” that also made that same connection:
“…turning the university into a revenue-maximizing business inevitably subverts the institution’s central purpose, which is the pursuit and transmission of knowledge.”
Here's a brief overview of the article:
The Art of the Gouge,” a 14,000-word report published by a group of more than 400 NYU faculty members. They are fed up with seeing a distinguished research university transformed into a multi-billion dollar student loan-funded vehicle for real estate speculation. The school’s recent charitable activities include things like purchasing a $5.2 million condo on Central Park West … features many other eye-popping examples of how the revenues from the school’s more than $70,000-per-year cost of attendance are being spent, while at the same time some students find themselves homeless, underfed, and desperate enough to trade sex for tuition money.

This is all part and parcel of the increasing corporatization of the American university … One problem with this little laissez-faire fable is that this particular market depends heavily on taxpayer subsidies. Another is that turning the university into a revenue-maximizing business inevitably subverts the institution’s central purpose, which is the pursuit and transmission of knowledge.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Scott Walker's Bill of No Rights starts with Marriage.

That equal protection clause, part of the Fourteenth Amendment, is pretty clear: “(it) provides that no state shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction "the equal protection of the laws."

Unless of course we're determined to create second class citizens, like Scott Walker is advocating with a constitutional amendment allowing states to discriminate. Think about it, if you have to add an amendment, than you're changing a right already protected by the Constitution.
Same Sex Marriage Flip Flop!!!

The inconvenient truth about marriage is that it really deals with our legal and economic responsibilities to each other. It's not just a religious concept. Without this legal commitment, can you imagine the chaos. We could all just walk away from each other; spouses, kids, relatives.

But chaos is the name of the game for Republicans pushing the phoniest kind of rugged individualism and pure religious fundamentalism. 

According to Scott Walker, in an interview by ABC’s Jonathan Karl, he would try to change the legal commitment marriage provides to all of us, giving it to the union of a man and a woman. Anyone else, second class citizen status. It also creates a monetary nightmare for couples in states that allow marriage and need all the legal economic responsibilities the federal government provides, like Social Security...unless they get rid of that too:
Walker said he would be open to the idea of a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman, a process that he emphasized would have to originate from the states. “If the court decides that, the only next approach is for those who are supporters of marriage being defined as between one man and one woman is ultimately to consider pursuing a constitutional amendment.”

Scott Walker's Broken Jobs Promise wasn't his only failure. It's promises kept....

ABC's Jonathan Karl just gave America a glimpse at the slippery, topic-shifting master Scott Walker at work.

So what about Walker's miserable jobs record, where he only managed half of the 250,000 promised jobs? Oh, but the unemployment rate is down. Huh? It turned out, Walker was just promising to "aiming high." Got it.
Karl: "That was a central promise you fell significant short, so should we expect you to fall short in the promises you're making now?"

Walker: "No, when you look at all the other promises.."
So how did all those other promises work out?

Walker lowered property taxes each year? So that's why we can't pay our bills anymore, prompting massive cuts to the UW, defunding state parks, cutting the already short staffed DNR, and the inability to fund the transportation department. And that of course explains the "budget surpluses," only after dismantling everything the public has investment money in over a last 50 years. And can we really count a $5 property tax cut?

Walker froze tuition, which solved that problem...it did?

Walker even claimed schools are better. Oh sure, after local referendums pass to make up for budget shortfalls, staff turnover, teacher bidding, rural school closings, lost voucher revenue, larger classes, fewer subjects, lost high school college credits, student fee increases, deferred building maintenance, and passing on school accountability again...etc.



And we're not evening counting his failure as CEO of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. Tanked big time (here's the latest).

The best list of Walker's mismanagement and failed promises can be found here, at The Political Environment. If this is Walker's record as governor, so far, can you imagine the chaos we would see with him as president? This cartoon continues to haunt me:




Walker "foreign policy" plows through the Middle East, proving Learning Curves are for Pussies.

Walker, the guy who never answers questions, answered one today: War in Iraq? Why not.

Screen capture
After Jon Stewart's incredible take down of Republican foreign policy, what he called "America in the Middle East: Learning Curves are for Pussies" (see it here), you would think presidential candidates like Scott Walker would try to be more reflective. Not a chance; the GOP has not only ignored the lessons learned, but are doubling down on the old Bush policy.

According to Scott Walker, in an interview by ABC’s Jonathan Karl:




Walker's other big cuts, not on taxes, hurting Wisconsin business climate.

This will be one of the many news reports we'll see disappear under the avalanche of Scott Walker spin encouraged by the media. They love a horse race don't they?

Reuters News actually took a look a the results of Walker's "Open for Business" scam/giveaway to corporate welfare recipients, and cuts to basic services and transportation. It's not good:


On the Wisconsin border, little enthusiasm for Walker's tax cuts: Walker has cut state taxes by $2 billion as his state has climbed out of recession. Unemployment in Superior now stands at 4.6 percent.

Ask local officials and business leaders, and they will say Walker's policies have little to do with a turnaround that has moved in tandem with the national recovery. Tax cuts haven't lured many businesses across the bridge from Duluth, Minnesota, they say, while the loss in revenue has prompted steep spending cuts to education, harbor maintenance and road construction.For some, the tradeoff is not worth it. "We should put the $2 billion in roads or education," said Superior Mayor Bruce Hagen, a self-described conservative.

Taxes are a secondary consideration to more tangible concerns like real estate and road conditions, according to six local officials and seven business executives who spoke to Reuters. There are plenty of vacant storefronts along Superior's main street, where one bar advertises "BINGO EROTIC," and space is also available in weedy plots near the waterfont.
Here's where the normally envious conservative voter should get angry. Will they like seeing manufacturers and Big Ag paying almost no tax, unlike themselves, while essentially freeloading off everything taxpayers have to build and maintain?
The tax difference between the two cities is dramatic. Manufacturers will see their corporate tax rate drop to 0.4 percent in Wisconsin in coming years, compared to 9.8 percent in Minnesota. Wisconsin firms also pay less in unemployment insurance (another Walker scam), workers' compensation and sales tax. Yet Superior isn't pulling ahead … Private sector-employment in Superior grew by 5.6 percent ... between January 2011 and September 2014 … In Duluth's St. Louis County, jobs grew by 9.8 percent during that period.

Meanwhile, the number of businesses in Douglas County declined by 6 percent - double the rate in St. Louis County.
Do we have to say it again: Taxes not the driving factor. The chart compares Democratic Minnesota to a Republican Wisconsin:
Heavy-equipment manufacturer Exodus Machines considered expanding in Minnesota but opted to add jobs in Superior after Walker's economic-development agency secured a loan, said chief executive Kevin Boreen. The tax difference between the two states wasn't a factor, he said. 

Private-sector employment grew by 6.4 percent in Wisconsin between January 2011 and March 2015, lagging the national pace of 10.7 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

Along the waterfront, Mike McCoshen surveys huge piles of limestone and road salt unloaded from freighters plying the Great Lakes. His company, Hallett Dock, tapped state harbor-maintenance funds to expand its operations in Wisconsin in the years before Walker took office. The program was all but eliminated in Walker's latest budget proposal - an unwelcome development for other shipping businesses. As for Walker's tax cuts? "They haven't made us grow or recede at all," he said.
UPDATE: 7/3/15:  
The Joint Finance Committee voted Thursday to restore funding for maintenance and improvement projects at Wisconsin ports. The Harbor Assistance Program received around $17 million in segregated fees and bonding in the last state budget. That funding was almost completely stripped under Gov. Scott Walker's budget proposal. The program helps pay for public and private dock repairs, shipbuilding and more.