Saturday, July 25, 2015

Walker Revealed as Fraud by angry Donald "DumbDumb" Trump!

Finally, someone is attacking Scott Walker for the disastrous economic mess he's created here in Wisconsin. Take it away Donald Trump, GOP front runner:
A Scott Walker presidential campaign fundraiser, Gregory Slayton, and a New Hampshire venture capitalist, called Donald Trump “DumbDumb” in a fundraising invitation and said (Trump) would be “a total and complete disaster for the country. As you’ve seen Gov Walker is now well ahead of everyone not named DumbDumb (aka Trump) in the national polls. He’s also a plain spoken member of the 99% (as opposed to someone pretending to be so)…and that will be a KSF in 2016.”
Here's a cobble together but nearly complete video of Trump's response to Scott Walker. Oddly, many stations that featured this story cut off Trump's speech right at the point he was going to list Walker's problems. Odd, ya think?

Trump on Saturday (took a shot at) Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, whom he accused of mismanaging his state’s budget and creating a disaster for its roads, schools and hospitals …“Today I read this horrible statement from a fundraiser about Trump, and I said, ‘Oh finally, I can attack, finally,” Mr. Trump said to laughter.

He went down a list of criticisms that seemed the result of an overnight opposition-research effort. “Wisconsin is doing terribly,’’ he said. “First of all, it’s in turmoil, the roads are a disaster because they don’t have any money to rebuild them, and they’re borrowing money like crazy.’’

He cited figures for the state’s budget deficit. “They projected a $1bn surplus, and it turns out to be a deficit of $2.2bn, and money all over the place, the schools are a disaster, and they’re fighting like crazy because there’s no money for the schools, the hospitals and education is a disaster, and he was totally in support of [controversial education policy] Common Core.”

He also accused Mr. Walker of flip-flopping on the Common Core education standards, having once supported them. “Scott Walker changed when he saw he was getting creamed, so now he’s not in favor.’’

Mr. Trump gave $10,000 to Mr. Walker’s re-election campaign last year, something he alluded to; “He’s a nice guy. He came up to my office three or four months ago and presented me with a plaque because I helped him with his election. I liked that he was fighting." The $2.2bn deficit cited by Trump actually refers to a “pre-budget estimate” of tax revenue compared with budget requests from Wisconsin state agencies, PolitiFact Wisconsin reported

Figures; Dumb Ron Johnson's Super PAC fear mongers, Photoshops Obama standing next to president of Iran.

All in with Chris Hayes feature this amazing gaffe, not to mention lie, from what appears to be a desperate Dumb Ron Johnson fund raiser at his super PAC. The Progressive's Ruth Conniff gives the nation a wonderfully detailed, almost comical description of our national embarrassment:
A Super PAC supporting Sen. Ron Johnson, R - Wi., aired an ad featuring a photoshopped image of President Obama shaking hands with the Iranian president, which has never happened.

Check out the before and after photos wonderfully displayed by Buzzfeed. Obama looks strangely similar in the two different photos, right. But Johnson's PAC, believe it or not, continued to claim the picture was real, despite changing it! You can't make this stuff up. According to PolitiFact:
Editor's note: After this item was posted, Restoration PAC spokesman Dan Curry called PolitiFact Wisconsin to say the group had decided the day before -- after the Buzzfeed article -- to replace the image with side-by-side photos of the two men. He said the new ad began running the morning of July 24, 2015. (However, the old version continued to appear on YouTube and as a link from the group's website that afternoon). 
And it's down the rabbit hole....
In a statement, Curry criticized BuzzFeed as "not able to provide any proof that the photo was fake" and noted the photo "is in circulation widely on the internet, posted on dozens of websites. There also are no articles directly claiming the image is fake. However, out of an abundance of caution, we are replacing the image with side-by-side Obama and Rouhani photos that makes exactly the same point."

Local News Exposes ALEC's secret Corporate control over GOP, while conservative voters yawn in the face of creeping fascism.

The lack of critical thinking on the right is giving ALEC an open invitation to reinterpret everything from the Constitution, to capitalism, and to good old American values. They poke fun at liberal references to ALEC, and snicker at warnings about the hydra-like Koch brothers organizations influence.

Behind the scenes, my own conservative trolls offer up an insightful look at how easily compliant they are to party edicts. It's a world of "I know you are but what am I's," false analogies, name calling and a frightening lack of self awareness.

I've found that facts, research and easily clickable story links don't matter to them, because any weakness or falsehood is very personal.

Anything that raises questions about the prevailing "truth" pushed by their party, or the failures of their chosen leaders, frightens and insults their politically invested self image. What they call individualism and freedom is really a right wing socialist agenda demanding big government control over religion, morality, adherence to restrictive age old traditions and a monthly offering of scapegoats for party failures.

Sorry for the rant. My point is, local television stations have done their own investigations into the controlling force behind elected Republican lawmakers, ALEC, and as shocking as the coverage is Republican voters don't seem to care. Media Matters:

There are consequences for not stopping this dark influential group. Coming to a local city county government near you...:
Now the council is looking to take its blueprint for influence over statewide lawmaking and drill it down to the local level. It has already quietly set up, and is making plans for the public launch of, an offshoot called the American City County Exchange (ACCE) that will target policymakers from "villages, towns, cities and counties".

The new organization will offer corporate America a direct conduit into the policy making process of city councils and municipalities. Lobbyists acting on behalf of major businesses will be able to propose resolutions and argue for new profit-enhancing legislation in front of elected city officials, who will then return to their council chambers and seek to implement the proposals. [The Guardian,3/6/14]

Friday, July 24, 2015

Ouch! Minnesota is America's Top State for Business, the opposite of Walker's Wisconsin.

Yea, another embarrassing, and for Scott Walker, a badly time repudiation of his austere cuts and borrow policies from just a month ago:
CNBCMinnesota is 2015's Top State for Business: Leave it to the North Star State to chart a new course to competitiveness. Minnesota is America's Top State for Business in 2015, reaching the pinnacle of success by way of a much different route than our eight previous winners.

Minnesota's ranking in the top half for all but two of our 10 categories of competitiveness. Indeed, the birthplace of SpamScotch Tape and the supercomputer marks a new first this year. Never since we began rating the states in 2007 has a high-tax, high-wage, union-friendly state made it to the top of our rankings. But Minnesota does so well in so many other areas—like education and quality of life—that its cost disadvantages fade away.

Rather than just seeking the lowest taxes or the highest incentives, companies are increasingly chasing the largest supply of skilled, qualified workers. So states are touting their workforces like never before, giving the Workforce category—where Minnesota finishes a respectable 13th—greater weight in our study.

I know Republicans will read this and weep, not believing their own eyes, desperately holding onto their stolen half burned recall Walker petitions:
The state's path to the top is marked by a carefully crafted and still controversial strategy by Gov. Mark Dayton, the first Democrat to hold the office in two decades. The hallmark of his plan: a big tax increase. Dayton began calling for higher taxes ... with the state facing a $6.2 billion budget gap. By 2013 he managed to push through a whopping $2.1 billion tax increase, primarily targeting smokers and wealthy people (one of whom is Dayton himself, an heir to the Target retail fortune). Last year Dayton did approve a $508 million middle-class tax cut. But the rate for top earners remains among the highest in the nation, at 9.85 percent.

This year, with a state budget surplus of nearly $2 billion, one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation and apparently no exodus of millionaires, Dayton has been taking a victory lap of sorts. "More Minnesota businesses are expanding, so more Minnesotans are working. They are earning more money, which means they are paying more taxes," Dayton said. "It is Minnesota's economic successes, not tax increases, that have produced our present budget surplus," he said.

Dayton has championed tax breaks and subsidies for businesses ... Even so, Dayton has won few friends in the business community ... Republicans and business leaders warned the strategy would ultimately backfire.
Get ready for it; when state revenues blossom, pay off debt, and increase the public's investment in infrastructure and education, Republicans don't see that the reward for good economic policy, they see that as over taxation. That's what the Bush tax cuts squandered; "surpluses as far as the eye can see" and paying of the national debt; we had to give back those excessive tax dollars. Oh, and government gets bigger.
"Back-to-back billion-dollar surpluses show that the level of taxes on individuals and business owners is too high," the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce said at the start of this year's legislative session. "The best way to grow and expand the state's economy is to reduce uncompetitive business taxes." Republicans sought to undo the tax increases this year, while Dayton proposed increasing the gasoline tax.

In our study, Minnesota finishes in second place for Education, thanks in large part to some of the best-performing K–12 students in the nation. 

In Quality of Life, Minnesota finishes third. Crime is low. The air is clean, and in the home of the Mayo Clinic, people are healthy ... fifth place in Economy, sixth place in Technology & Innovation and ninth place for Infrastructure. Those strengths are enough to outweigh Minnesota's 35th-place finish for Cost of Doing Business and 32nd for Cost of Living.
 Here's another story getting some attention. 

Blame Republicans for Tuition Increases and Family Crushing Student Loan Debt. It's that simple.

Bottom line: Republicans hate education and don’t like funding it. The cuts they’ve made to the UW and K-12 were the biggest in the nation, along with their attacks on student lending. 

Just remember, Republicans are the guys that gave us crushing student debt, because they reduced public funding of our state colleges, and that directly increased tuition. More on that and a GAO study is below.

The fact is, Dumb Ron Johnson doesn’t get that. Instead, he’s cherry picked a “study” from the NY Fed, that fits his narrative; government sponsored student loan programs have jacked up tuition. Because tuition increases coincided with the GOP's attack on colleges, many tend to believe the Republican lie. Here’s the study and false premise Johnson offers as proof. WPR:
(Ron Johnson) cited a study released this month by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York that said that for every new dollar received in Direct Subsidized Loans, tuition goes up by 65 cents.

"As well-intentioned as these programs are, by enticing our children to incur, I think collectively $1.2, $1.3 trillion of student loan debt, we have actually made college less accessible, because we’ve made it less affordable," Johnson said. Johnson said the solution is to give students and their parents information on "all the options" after high school … "We need to kind of break out of, you know, this paradigm where we’re saying everybody has to get a four-year degree.”
Oddly, the “study” Johnson points to never compared GOP defunding to the rise in tuition's. It should have, because even in their own analysis of  2 year community colleges, they inadvertently mentioned it. Check it  out:
Four-year institutions charge higher tuition, on average, resulting in higher dependence on external funding. The two-year sector is almost entirely dominated by public two-year colleges, also known as community colleges … tuition is low, averaging just $2,600 in 2012, largely due to the large share of revenue that is funded through government sources (70%).
Oops. Imagine that, public funding reduces tuition. I wonder if that could work at a 4 year college?

Oh, if you thought manufacturing in the U.S. was on the decline, than you’re not thinking like Scott Walker and Ron Johnson. They’re trying their damndest to return manufacturing to the glory days.
Johnson said there are "tens of thousands" of manufacturing jobs in Wisconsin that are not being filled, so high school graduates can opt for one of them.
As I mentioned, the Government Accountability Office took a look at this around January of this year, and surprise, their analysis is just the opposite of Dumb Ron Johnson's. Wrong again, big time:
These days students pay more of the cost of attending public universities than state governments, a shift that is making college less affordable, according to a recent Government Accountability Office report.

1. Researchers found that the money public colleges collect in tuition surpassed the money they receive from state funding in 2012. Tuition accounted for 25 percent of school revenue, up from 17 percent in 2003. State funding, meanwhile, plummeted from 32 percent to 23 percent during the same period.

2.  That’s a far cry from the 1970s, when state governments supplied public colleges with nearly 75 percent of their funding, according to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.

3. The number of students enrolled in public colleges rose by 20 percent from the 2002-2003 school year to 2011-2012. Meanwhile, median state funding per student fell 24 percent, from $6,211 in fiscal year 2003 to $4,695 in fiscal year 2012.
It turns out the Republican backed "free market" deregulation and voluntary regulation of Wall Street resulted in increased defunding of education and hikes in tuition. Don't let them say otherwise:  
The GAO said the collapse of the financial markets in 2008 caused … State budgets (to) responded by slashing higher education funding by 23 percent per student. Consider the federal Pell Grant program, which awards money that does not have to be repaid to students whose household incomes are typically $30,000 or less. The maximum Pell award covered 77 percent of the cost of attending a four-year public university in 1980, but that fell to 36 percent by 2011, according to the Education Trust. 
So what is Ron Johnson talking about? I don't think even he knows. But it sure sounds good for all those low information voters.

Of course Scott Walker's attempt to cut UW funding exposed that scheme to conservative alums, who might be to happy now. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Walker takes away religious freedom for others with wacky sounding "1st Amendment Defense Act!"

Scott Walker is now pushing a bill on the national stage, that even red states Arizona and Indiana rejected after strong public opposition. Cap Times:
Scott Walker supports the First Amendment Defense Act — but what does it do?: "Absolutely. I mean, to me, protecting our constitutional rights shouldn’t just take a piece of legislation," Walker said when asked by the Christian Broadcasting Network in Iowa last week if he supports the bill.
The bill supposedly protects churches from doing something they’re not required to do; perform same sex marriages! So this is just more trash talk on taxpayer time just to energize the radical right wing low information voters:
In a press release announcing the bill, co-sponsor Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, noted specifically that the bill would prevent the Internal Revenue Service from stripping a church of its tax-exempt status. 
 Because the First Amendment Defense Act goes even further than protecting churches:
The bill protects anyone who "acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage."

Lee, asked by NPR about a hypothetical scenario in which a university fires an unmarried woman for having sex with a man, offered this: "There are colleges and universities that have a religious belief that sexual relations are to be reserved for marriage … Those colleges and universities have the right to make that decision on their own … It is, again, a slim minority of those that do. But those that do have this ought to be protected in their religious freedom." He offered similar arguments involving a university denying employment to a person married to someone of the same sex.
Quicker than you can say “social engineering, big government Republicans are putting themselves in our bedrooms. And I’m not just talking about their membership in Adult Friend Finder or AshleyMadison either.
Kaylie Hanson, director of women's media for the Democratic National Committee: "First, we learn that Jeb Bush’s policy agenda called for publicly shaming single mothers for having children out of wedlock. Then we learned that Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Scott Walker all support legislation that would allow a woman to be fired for having premarital sex. Republicans should be ashamed of themselves."

MacIver Institute's loony bin history lesson twists free speech into pretzel.

The right wing propaganda think tank MacIver Institute is at it again, pushing preposterous and tired ideas that have long been laughed out-of-the-room. Let’s explore quickly their nutty conclusions:  
“It is a long-established practice of so-called Progressives to confront speech they do not like by trying to silence the offending voices. Campus speech codes circumscribe debate while angry leftist mobs shout down public speakers. They organize boycotts and public ostracizing for anyone daring to not conform to left wing orthodoxy, no matter how recently it changed.”
Really? The facts offer up a different reality, like when GOP legislators demanded police “crack a few heads” to send a strong message to peaceful Capitol protesters. Sadly for Republicans that didn’t happen. One of the loudest voices, then Rep. Steve Nass, lead the assault:
Nass #1: In a news release Rep. Steve Nass stated protesters feel "entitled" to take action without serious consequences in the capital city. "The risk of a major incident continues to grow since protesters now feel immune to any real consequences." The JFC voted Wednesday to withhold roughly $750,000 from the Madison Police Department, (because they) believe there were "legitimate concerns about actions of individual officers." Nass said, "If they were arrested vigorously, I believe that would slow them [protesters]." Madison Police Chief Noble Wray (said) questions about his department's conduct during the protests constitute "almost a slap in the face."

Nass #2: Rep. Steve Nass sent Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen a letter asking for an investigation into Assistant Attorney General Thomas Bellavia for emailing the Democrats on Feb. 27 and telling them he supported their efforts … concerns that Bellavia could attempt to sabotage the defense of the Wisconsin Legislature.

Nass #3: …he expressed cutting funding of a UW-Madison center because its studies were "too far to the left."  

Nass #4: State Sen. Steve Nass blasted a UW-Madison economics professor ... calling the academic's report on right-to-work legislation "partisan, garbage research." "Attached is yet another example of wasted resources at the UW-Madison/UW Extension … Hiding behind academic freedom to issue partisan … I will certainly forward this email on to UW System President Ray Cross … as just one suggestion of a faculty member with time to teach more courses. Or maybe not!"

Nass #5: WRN: Republican Rep. Steve Nass has gotten the UW’s School for Workers to cancel an “Art in Protest” exhibit that had been scheduled for next month. “The problem with it is that it would be funded with taxpayer dollars and that’s through the Extension.”  Nass charges the exhibit would have provided a one-sided view of last year’s protests at the Capitol, with UW Extension taking the side of protesters. “I did indicate to Extension that … any problems that arise from that, or any misbehavior by the protesters – which I certainly would expect, it would probably be very despicable … and I will be watching.”

Permit to Protest? How about Walker’s attempt to silence free speech by charging a fee and permit to protest at the Capitol? Republicans desperately rationalized away free speech to get back at protesters:
McKenna of WIBA participated in the Liberty Singers event, and tells 27 News, "We just want folks to understand, the permit is easy to get, it's a way to protect all of us and our ability to come here to our beautiful capitol and express ourselves." 
Sound anything like the state Constitution's Article I, Section 4: “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.” Didn't think so.

Here's another MacIver nugget: 
“Here in Wisconsin the assault on free speech took a more ominous turn when a rogue partisan prosecutor in Milwaukee, District Attorney John Chisholm, unleashed the power of the state upon the Progressives' political enemies.”
They must have missed this historical inconvenient truth; the endless investigation of Gov. Doyle, and Walker’s demand to “purge” his liberal administrative staff:
Back in 2006 when Georgia Thompson was charged by then-U.S. Attorney Steven Biskupic - who now represents Walker's campaign - Walker went on the attack against Doyle, even though Thompson was a civil service employee who was hired in 2001 under Gov. Scott McCallum, a Republican.

"Today's indictment provides further confirmation that the Doyle administration is damaged and must be removed from the Capitol," said Walker of his Democratic predecessor. "Governor Doyle needs to purge his administration of individuals who place politics and special interests ahead of the people of Wisconsin."

And as we all know, no one in Walker’s administration is political, or beholden to special interests. But let's cut to the chase. The Wisconsin State Journal reported:
“The controversial case … was used by Wisconsin Republicans to paint Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle's administration as corrupt during his 2006 re-election campaign … An appeals court, though, tossed the conviction, saying the evidence against Thompson was "beyond thin." State investigators kept open the alleged corruption case for six months last year after a federal appeals court struck down the only prosecution in the high-profile case.
SIDE NOTE: I thought the rest of Walker's press release was just as interesting. Double standard maybe?
"I am also calling on the Governor to adopt the reforms I proposed earlier this month that would prohibit anyone bidding on a state contract from contributing to his campaign for Governor. 

I am calling on Governor Doyle’s campaign to return any contributions from individuals made while bidding on a state contract.

Additionally, I am calling on the Governor to prohibit his appointees from both giving to his campaign and/or hosting fundraisers on his behalf. Also, he should return any and all contributions from administration officials immediately.”
Love to see PolitiFact get a hold of this one.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Walker to do for country what he's done for Wisconsin... unemployment. The only thing Scott Walker has been hanging his hat on, minus the non-participation rate, is the low unemployment number. Well, that might be changing, and not in a good way:
Unemployment rates increased in most Wisconsin cities and counties in June. Unemployment rates increased in 27 out of 32 of the state's largest cities. Racine had the highest unemployment rate at 7.6 percent, up from 7.4 percent in May. Milwaukee was the second highest at 7.4 percent, up from 6.9 percent the month before. Unemployment rates went up in 51 of 72 counties.
In the anti-business liberal hell hole of the state, Madison and Dane County, just what you'd expect: 
Madison and Dane County had the lowest unemployment rates for both a city and county at 3.5 percent.

Walker ready to "boldly" politicize elections. Like gerrymandering wasn't enough already?

In my post yesterday, "Scott Walker wants something better than a board of impartial judges overseeing elections,the Cap Times wrote about the latest attempt by Scott Walker and the Republican authority to remake the GAB into something more accountable to them, partisan politicians:

Gov. Scott Walker said on Monday he wants the board dismantled and replaced with something new … "something completely new that is truly accountable to the people of the state of Wisconsin," the Associated Press reported.

Jay Heck, director of Common Cause in Wisconsin, said "Walker's call for the elimination of the GAB is simply revenge and retribution for the GAB approving of an investigation of what was clearly a violation of Wisconsin campaign finance law in 2011-12. The elimination or evisceration of the GAB will only raise further questions about whether or not Walker and his campaign were involved in illegal activity. And it will be viewed by citizens as an attempt to simply eliminate any entity that puts adherence to the law above partisan fealty."
But this all started back in December of 2011, nearly one year into Walker term. Republicans were already planning the GAB's demise:
jsonline-Jason Stein: State Rep. Jeff Fitzgerald … said the state might need to replace its elections and ethics agency, saying it has strayed from its nonpartisan mission. Fitzgerald said he saw advantages to going back to the old elections and ethics board … A spokesman for the accountability board said the agency was simply applying the law during controversial political times.
Exactly one year later, in 2012, Republicans were still fine tuning the message:
jsonline-Patrick Marley: The state Senate's incoming leader said Monday he would like to take retired judges off the state's nonpartisan elections and ethics board and replace them with political appointees.Sen. Scott Fitzgerald said he believed the state Government Accountability Board has made decisions favoring Democrats and that putting political appointees on the board would "strike more of a balance." "GAB, it's not working the way it's supposed to," Fitzgerald said. 
Another year later, replacing the GAB came up again, but this time on video, compliments of the propaganda think tank MacIver Institute. Thankfully, when Republicans give interviews to like-minded media lackeys, the filter comes off and they spill their guts. They do know everybody else can see and hear this stuff, right?

This is what I wrote back in January 2, 2013:
Thanks to the farcical, and radically conservative "think tank" MacIver Institute, we have this look inside the thinking behind our winner take all party of failed ideas, from Sen. Scott Fitzgerald. I've added corrections in the video when needed:

In  2012, Rachel Maddow put together this nicely researched look back at how the GAB began in Wisconsin, and the Republicans attempts to take it all back:

Check out this fine article in the New Yorker.

Trump's Lead no Joke: Stumped Media missed Radical Right Wing Rise!

Media Matters' Eric Boehlert completely nails it about Trump's rise in popularity, pointing out how the clueless media, for years, chose to ignore the radicalization of the right. And Trump's siren-like song is hitting every one of their low information notes. Here's his absolutely spot on case:
But is Trump's run really that surprising? It shouldn't be if you've been paying attention to the radical, obstructionist turn both Republican politics and the right-wing media have taken over the last six-plus years. Yet during most of that span, the D.C. media stoically pretended the GOP hadn't taken an ugly, radical turn. And that's why so many seem baffled by Trump's rise.

Increasingly, Trump represents Fox News' Republican Party. He's holding up a mirror. But many journalists seem slow, or unwilling, to acknowledge that.

Some Beltway analysts blame the press for Trump's rise, insisting it's only because he's generating so much media attention that Republican voters are selecting him as their top choice. But that premise only works if you assume Trump doesn't connect with a certain group of voters. The fact is, most of Trump's coverage over the last month has been highly unflattering, as journalists and pundits detail his seemingly endless string of outrageous statements. (Minus Fox News, of course, where several hosts continue to fawn over him.) Yet Trump's favorable rating among Republican voters has been on the rise, suggesting that he is, in fact, connecting with the GOP base.

The idea that Trump's appeal isn't genuine or that the press has lured Republicans into supporting him is likely more comforting than acknowledging the truth: Trump, an ignorant, nativist birther, is appealing to an often-ugly streak within the conservative movement. He's winning over the illogical, demagoguery wing of the Republican Party that's been feasting off far-right media hate rhetoric for years.

It's the coalition that cheered when Glenn Beck called the president of the United States a "racist," and agrees with right-wing commentators that Obama is a tyrant who needs to be impeached.

This was the "grassroots" political movement that was so freaked out by Obama's ascension to power that it reached for the Nazi analogies just months into the president's first term, before he'd barely even finished filling out his cabinet positions. This is a wing of the party that views Obama as a monster of historic proportions who's committed to stripping citizens of their liberties and getting them addicted to government dependencies, like a drug dealer.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Empty-Headedness of Carly Fiorina...this time on Climate Change.

My conservative friend in Milwaukee loves Carly Fiorina. She's so smart.

I don't usually throw the word "dumb" around very much (okay, you got me on Dumb Ron Johnson), but it's the only word that keeps ringing in my ear when I hear Fiorina talk in her dead pan style, about anything. I actually want to run screaming from the room.

And yes, I can prove it. Just watch this mind numbing interview denying climate change making the rounds in conservative circles, where they say "Fiorina OWNS Katie Couric," and "Fiorina makes mincemeat out of interviewer Katie Couric." I'm just sad for them:

Vox: In a recent interview with Katie Couric, for instance, Fiorina delivered a four-minute riff on climate change that the National Review enthused "shows how to address the left on climate change." The only problem, as David Roberts pointed out, was that every single thing she said in it was wrong.

Scott Walker wants something better than a board of impartial judges overseeing elections.

You can bet elections in Wisconsin will take on a new conservative glow after Scott Walker and his plundering pirates get done with it. Don’t forget, they won, so get over it.

First, the highly regarded Government Accountability Board had the kind of name only a Republican could hate. "Accountability?" Not if they can help it.

The board inflicted a lot of legal pain for Walker, and now it was their time to pay. A Walker warning shot over the bow. No one steps out of line.
Gov. Scott Walker said on Monday he wants the board dismantled and replaced with something new … "something completely new that is truly accountable to the people of the state of Wisconsin," the Associated Press reported.

Jay Heck, director of Common Cause in Wisconsin, said "Walker's call for the elimination of the GAB is simply revenge and retribution for the GAB approving of an investigation of what was clearly a violation of Wisconsin campaign finance law in 2011-12. The elimination or evisceration of the GAB will only raise further questions about whether or not Walker and his campaign were involved in illegal activity. And it will be viewed by citizens as an attempt to simply eliminate any entity that puts adherence to the law above partisan fealty."
Of course with super majorities and sure bet electoral districts, who care’s.

Guilt by association? The Republicans got a lucky break when they found out the GAB had been in contact with the IRS...gee, another government agency. It was an opportunity to make something up that appealed to the paranoids they call voters. Despite no actual documentable involvement, Republicans made it sound like the Watergate break-in:
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Rep. Dean Knudson called for "necessary reforms" after a Wall Street Journal editorial reported the agency had been in contact with the Internal Revenue Service when it investigated conservative groups.

Joint Finance Committee co-chairs Sen. Alberta Darling and Rep. John Nygren called for GAB director Kevin Kennedy's resignation, calling the GAB a "rogue agency that ignores state law and operates against its founding principles." 
Yea, they’re rotten to the core alright. Meanwhile, reality struggled to get a word in edgewise:
Kennedy issued the following statement: "I am not going to dignify the Wall Street Journal’s opinion column with any comment, except to state that it contains no facts showing that I or the Government Accountability Board did anything inappropriate or out of the ordinary given the agency’s statutory responsibilities. I think any discussion about the structure or mission of the G.A.B. should be done through the legislative process. 

Walker's Wisconsin drops from 19th to 30th in clean Energy Technology!

Scott Walker is determined to lead a resurgence of the dying coal industry. Here's a "big bold" attempt by Walker to stay in the 20th century and ignore the agonizing death throws of a dirty old industry who's time is up.
"...coal producers are starting to fall apart faster than anyone could have anticipated."
Our forward looking "leader" appears to have missed this big energy shift in the U.S.:
The administration of Gov. Scott Walker has raised concerns about the cost of renewable energy. And some GOP lawmakers have sought to roll back or terminate the state's renewable power mandate, citing the cost to consumers and the intermittent output of wind turbines and solar panels.
Hate to tell presidential wannabe Scott Walker he's got it ass-backwards:
SNL Financial has produced some jaw dropping data on the quickly deteriorating coal industry, with a horrific performance in the second quarter. Coal prices are down 70 percent from four years ago. The U.S. is shifting towards natural gas in the electric power sector, and weak demand for coal is leading to mine closures ... the coal industry could be facing structural and permanent decline. But the damage is happening quickly ... exporting coal abroad to energy hungry countries is also quickly closing off. Oversupply on international markets is depressing prices So far 2015 has been a horrendous year for coal ... but the ugly forecast keeps getting worse.  
Even worse for Walker, 3 reports just came out trashing Wisconsin renewable energy efforts when compared to other states, dramatically dropping us from 19th to 30th. Here's jsonline reporter Thomas Content on WPR's Central Time:

Here's the bad news:
Three new reports are charting Wisconsin's hits and misses when it comes to renewable energy and a transition to an economy that fosters growth in sustainable energy technologies. The reports from consulting firm Clean Edge, the state Public Service Commission and the Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council indicate that many other states are moving more aggressively in the clean-energy space … the Sustainable Business Council, noting Illinois and Minnesota have set goals to get 25% of their electricity from renewable energy. Wisconsin utilities generated 11% of their electricity last year from renewable energy.

Two other reports by sustainable-energy advocates suggest Wisconsin is falling behind other states. According to Clean Edge, Wisconsin's ranking fell to 30th, down from 19th a year ago, in the firm's state-by-state analysis.

Wisconsin is lagging in venture-capital fundraising for clean-technology and in generating patents in this area … Moves to restrict solar and wind power development in Clean Edge's state-by-state policy assessment, known as the Clean Edge Leadership Index.
The key word here is "should:"
"This report should be a wake-up call for Wisconsin," said Gary Radloff, director of Midwest energy policy analysis at the Wisconsin Energy Institute in Madison. "We are in danger of failing to stay competitive, leaving billions of economic growth dollars on the table if we don't start targeting a more healthy policy environment for Wisconsin — focusing on clean energy technology development and deployment."
The ramifications are huge, especially for Republicans who say they're focused on jobs...they're not really:
The Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council highlights:Economy: The state ranked fifth in manufacturing job growth, but income inequality remains a concern.

Environment: The state is still the 10th-most coal-dependent state in the country.

Big Government Republicans Trample State Constitution, again! Judge reinstates Milwaukee Residency Rule!!!

It looks like Scott Walker and the Republican authority trampled all over the state constitution again.
After serving as Milwaukee County Executive, Walker wanted to exact a little revenge on Wisconsin’s largest city.

He failed big time. jsonline Crocker Stephenson:
In a blistering opinion Tuesday, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals reinstated Milwaukee's decades-old residency rule, which requires city employees to live within city limits.

The 1st District Court of Appeals' decision, written by Presiding Judge Patricia S. Curley, threw out a Republican-backed statute tucked into the 2013-'15 state budget that prohibits local governments from enforcing any residency rules other than those that require police and firefighters to live within 15 miles of their borders. "The sole reason we can delineate for the statute's existence is the gutting of Milwaukee's long-standing residency requirement," Curley wrote.

Milwaukee's position is that the law violates the Wisconsin Constitution's home rule amendment. The home rule amendment holds that any state law must yield to local law unless it involves matter of statewide concern and it affects every city or village with uniformity. The 2013 law on residency "does not involve matters of statewide concern and does not affect all local governmental units uniformly," Curley wrote. "It does not trump the Milwaukee ordinance."
It was meant to break Milwaukee's economic back:
The court pointed to a Legislative Fiscal Bureau paper that warned lawmakers that the statute would have a ruinous impact on Milwaukee's neighborhoods and economy. "The notion that a statute purporting to gut the tax bases and compromise neighborhood integrity of all municipalities would pass both houses of the Legislature defies logic," Curley wrote. Judge Joan F. Kessler noted a consultant's report … Some 60% of Milwaukee's 7,000 employees would become nonresidents, the report says. Nearly 4,000 households would leave the city, resulting an estimated retail loss of nearly $55 million. The city's tax base would take a $649 million hit. The loss "will obviously directly impact Milwaukee's ability to pay for necessary infrastructure, service and wages," Kessler wrote. "There is no evidence in the record that any other municipality would likely be similarly affected," she wrote.

Sen. Stroebel plays constituents for suckers, plans pointless investigation of Planned Parenthood for something they don't do. Rep. Duffy too.

Are Ozaukee County voters out of their minds electing Duey Stoebel as their State Senator?

While nothing wrong happened in the right wing video sting on Planned Parenthood, Republicans like Duey Stroebel and Rep. Sean Duffy have decided to spend their taxpayer time on "investigating" this drummed up controversy. Voters should be asking, why?
"(It is) illegal under federal law to sell human fetal tissue for anything of "valuable consideration." 
But the video shows a Planned Parent representative discussing what isn't illegal:
"(It) does not include reasonable payments associated with the transportation, implantation, processing, preservation, quality control, or storage of human fetal tissue."
Republican voters should recall this phony for playing them for suckers, and pretending Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin has anything to do with fetal parts. Welcome to our big government Republican police state:
"It's just further documentation that Planned Parenthood is definitely in the business of selling baby body parts," said Sen. Stroebel. "We need to get into their books. That's what we really need to see. We need to see where they're revenues come from."
Maybe Stroebel should ask a few questions before he "gets into their books." And Republicans were crying about late night raids in the John Doe investigation, get real. WKOW: 

Nicole Safar, public policy director for PPWI said, "We are not donating fetal tissue, so it's unclear to me what exactly they would want to investigate." PPWI simply doesn't have the infrastructure to facilitate human fetal tissue donation. "It seems like a lot of political sort of rallying that they're doing, but, I have yet to see a credible argument they could make for investigating us."
Stroebel won't let reality prevent him from agitating his conservative "low information" base for votes, while violating the privacy of peoples medical records, and PPW activities and contributions of a targeted GOP political enemy. Talk about witch hunts:
"If that's what they say, fine, but they're going to have to be able to verify that and that's what I'm looking for for the State of Wisconsin - their verification of their statements. We are going to make every effort possible to be able to get into those books, see where that taxpayer money is going and as a part of that organization, see where they are also generating all their revenues and if they are generating other revenues from the sale of body parts of babies," 
Don't count out Rep. Sean Duffy getting in the phony outrage act too. Could anything be more transparent? Maybe this is what Republicans were talking about when they say they want transparency.  

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Superhero Cup Head Kids!!!

Amazing what one dad could do with his collectors coffee cups:

Greatest Governor Ever? Apologies to Stephen Colbert....

Breathtakingly arrogant, but funny from WISGOP:

Gaffe Prone Walker sticking with it: Wants conservative voters to think being gay is a choice, are pedophiles.

Remember this memorable comment from presidential wannabe Scott Walker saying gay Boy Scout leaders are "pedophiles." Cap Times:
I have had a lifelong commitment to the Scouts and support the previous membership policy because it protected children and advanced Scout values.”
You'll notice the press has not used the word pedophile...anywhere. Yet that's what Walker meant. Continuing to avoid that word, CNN's Dana Bash got the strangest answer from Walker when asked to address the controversy:
Walker clarified that he thought that the ban on gay scout leaders didn't offer physical protection to children as much as protection from the spotlight of the debate on the issue.
Wow, major bullshit right. Even "stand with Walker" supporters will recognize that...I hope? 

Insulting, and a complete take-back...let's call it damage control, for purely political purposes, Walker notched another major gaffe. 

It was so easy for Dana Bash to make Walker squirm, watching him tripping over his own incredibly embarrassing word salad, that I just had to post it here. It was incredible:

Walker: "I just think it pulls Scouting into a whole larger political and cultural debate, as opposed to just say Scouting is about camping...instead of pulling all these other issues out there. And I would hope that we can stay focused, that's all. 

Bash: "But should there be a gay ban on allowing gay men to be Scout leaders?

Walker: "That's up to the people that run the place. One thing that people find unique, I guess, whether if you like it or not, is I answer your questions. People ask me a question and I'll answer a question..."

Bash: "But you're not really answer this one..."

Walker: "Sure in this case that's what I thought, I thought the policy was just fine..."
Hold on, "previous membership policy ... protected children" doesn't sound like "I thought the policy was fine," right? Walker can't think on his feet without pulling out some well rehearsed line from previous speeches, and he didn't have one. In fact, a conservative Walker supporter and pundit casually acknowledged that on the radio this morning, humorously conceding, "who would believe that?"

Walker tipped his hand when he avoided the whole "choice" thing, which of course he obviously believes. After all, that's why gay Boy Scout leaders are pedophiles:
CNN's Dana Bash asked the Republican presidential candidate whether he thinks that being gay is a choice. "That's not even an issue for me to be involved in," Walker said.
Compliment Bash for tough questions and staying on topic:
Bash offered that to act on behalf of people as a president does, "you have to understand or at least have an opinion on who they are and where they're coming from."

Walker: "I don't have an opinion on every single issue out there. To me, I don't know.

"It's appalling that a candidate for president in the year 2015 could botch such a fundamental question," said JoDee Winterhof, senior vice president of policy and political affairs for the Human Rights Campaign. "Of course it isn't a choice. If it was, Scott Walker would be able to tell us when he chose to be straight."

Post-Capitalism to the Rescue.....

The income gap is getting wider and wider, at the same time deep red states continue to shift power and public resources into the private sector. But don't give up hope.

There's hope now and repressive political policies won't be an impediment, thanks to technology. Heck, many of us already work out of our homes.

Capitalism is fading...slowly...all it needs is a major push by Democrats to rush this thing along. The Guardian:
The end of capitalism has begun: Without us noticing, we are entering the post-capitalist era. At the heart of further change to come is information technology, new ways of working and the sharing economy. The old ways will take a long while to disappear, but it’s time to be utopian.

First, it has reduced the need for work, blurred the edges between work and free time and loosened the relationship between work and wages. Second, information is corroding the market’s ability to form prices correctly. Third, we’re seeing the spontaneous rise of collaborative production: goods, services and organisations are appearing that no longer respond to the dictates of the market and the managerial hierarchy. 

The 2008 crash: The solutions have been austerity plus monetary excess. But they are not working. In the worst-hit countries, the pension system has been destroyed, the retirement age is being hiked to 70, and education is being privatized so that graduates now face a lifetime of high debt. Services are being dismantled and infrastructure projects put on hold.

Austerity is not eight years of spending cuts, as in the UK, or even the social catastrophe inflicted on Greece. It means driving the wages, social wages and living standards in the west down for decades until they meet those of the middle class in China and India on the way up.

The power of imagination will become critical. In an information society, no thought, debate or dream is wasted … The main contradiction today is between the possibility of free, abundant goods and information; and a system of monopolies, banks and governments trying to keep things private, scarce and commercial. Everything comes down to the struggle between the network and the hierarchy: between old forms of society molded around capitalism and new forms of society that prefigure what comes next.

The Rise of Right Wing Socialism and Scott Walker's vision to Rule the World with "Steel in the face of our enemies."

History is dotted by little men overcompensating with grandiose dreams of world conquests and political dominance. Scott Walker thinks he's next in line, even saying the public doesn't matter:

Are we witnessing a new rising threat from, guess who, Scott Walker? In the words of Han Solo, "I've got a bad feeling about this..."
Reuters-Scott Walker on Iran: "This is not a country we should be doing business with ... The United States needs a foreign policy that puts steel in the face of our enemies."
"Steel in the face of our enemies?" Who says that, seriously, except maybe comic book super-villains like Magneto, Red Skull and Doctor Doom.

Jeb Bush criticized Walker, saying "That sounds great, but maybe you ought to check in with your allies first. You might want to have your team in place before you take an act like that."

Walker's campaign foreign policy adviser Robert C. O'Brien passed along Walker's dark threatening knee-jerk foreign policy vision for world conquest:
"We don’t need more information, we don’t need to wait to confirm the next Secretary of State, we need decisive leadership and we need it now. This won’t be easy, but when America leads, and has a strong president with clear priorities who believes in American strength, the rest of the world will follow." 
Holy crap. Was Walker's adviser exaggerating? In Walker's own words...:
"I believe that a president shouldn’t wait to act until they put a cabinet together or an extended period of time. I believe they should be prepared to act on the very first day they take office. It’s very possible – God forbid, but it’s very possible – that the next president could be called to take aggressive actions, including military action, on the first day in office. And I don’t want a president who is not prepared to act on day one. So, as far as me, as far as my position, I’m going to be prepared to be president on day one.”
CNN's Dana Bash even out debated Walker on his ridiculous plan to dump out of the Iran deal. Walker was a deer in headlights, surprised and stumped: 

Warning to the Rest of the Country: From what we've seen in Wisconsin, it's what Walker isn't telling you that you should be afraid of, like when he "dropped the bomb," Act 10. People have noticed, as reported by Paul Fanlund in the Cap Times:
Only Walker's favorite union gets raise!
Dane County Executive Joe Parisi (said), "I think (Wisconsin Republicans) made a deliberate decision that their main goal, despite the stated goal of creating jobs, was to destroy their enemies."  Ah, but Republicans hate Dane County for the way we vote. And for them, politics, not the good of Wisconsin constituents, always comes first.
Walker knows only one strategy; "divide and conquer," an actual comment he made about breaking up labor. But the tactic worked so well that it ended up not just dividing the unions but also every citizen in the state, politically and socially. He even thinks having a divided state is healthy, which is why he no problem doing the same thing for the rest of the country...and the world apparently:
Walker would also be more confrontational with both Russia over its aggression against Ukraine and against China, for the territorial pressures Beijing is putting on U.S. allies in the South China Sea.
Scarier still? Among conservative voters, Walker is a moderate?
Republican pollster Frank Luntz, placed Walker's views on national security in the middle of conservative thinking.
History is littered with authoritarian leaders like Scott Walker. Out of curiosity I did a search and came across an article in Scholastic, a news magazine for teens, that laid this all out in the simplest of terms. The first point about paralyzing government mirrors the GOP strategy today; also see what tough sanctions on Germany eventually produced (spoiler alert). Sorry to get a little conspiratorial: 
The National Socialists party had enough power to effectively paralyze Germany's democratic government, which had been in place since 1919. Ian Kershaw, a history professor at Sheffield University in England said: "Indeed, with the world now facing great tensions and instability, the question of whether such a monstrous dictator could again come to power and threaten the world seems more relevant than ever ... around the globe, skilled politicians have been able to manipulate populist, nationalist, or racist feelings to advance authoritarian rule." In recent years, President Vladimir Putin has gradually moved Russia in an authoritarian direction, "Whether you're looking at the Soviet Union or Germany, the move toward authoritarian dictatorship doesn't necessarily make the country more secure, and the cost to the population is very, very high." According to Kershaw, around the globe, skilled politicians have been able to manipulate populist, nationalist, or racist feelings to advance authoritarian rule.
Right Wing Socialism: What we're seeing from Republicans: disdain for business that isn't a part of the party plan or power structure; a powerful undercurrent of politicized religion; like-thinking on marriage; gay and minority vilification; nationalism; income disparity that puts a powerful chosen few in charge of everything. It's a "right wing socialist" agenda. To be honest, I didn't even know right wing socialism existed until I looked up the concept, and all the tell-tale signs were there.
The term used by right-wing movements and politicians to describe support for social solidarity and paternalism … The fundamental objective of “right-wing socialism" is to maintain the status quo by preventing the free exercise of entrepreneurship and creative human action from disrupting the pre-established framework of social organization. It supports social hierarchy and certain people and groups to hold higher status in such a hierarchy. Military socialism, guild socialismagrarian socialism, and some forms of Christian socialism are also termed "right-wing socialism" by various authors. Fascism has been described by historian Ze'ev Sternhell as a nationalist socialism associated with anti-bourgeois, anti-democratic, anti-liberal, and anti-Marxist views … the rise of a "National Socialism" formed the basis of Nazism (who) subscribed to theories of racial hierarchy and social Darwinism, excluding those deemed either to be community aliens or of a foreign race. It rejected the Marxist concept of class struggle, opposed ideas of class equality and international solidarity, and sought to defend private property and businesses.