Saturday, November 14, 2015

Sheriff Clarke thinks GOP should politicize Terrorist Attack in France to win White House.

The right wing freak out over the terrorist attacks in France was scary. Is it a red flag when gun toting "responsible law abiding" patriots reach for their semi-automatic security blanket in a panic?

Triggered the conservative Fear Center: My conservative friend in Milwaukee called last night, sounding very angry, and then hung up on me after blaming liberals and Obama for not taking ISIS seriously. I'm assuming French citizens, armed to the teeth, could've somehow stopped lunatics with bombs wrapped around their chests.

Hypocrite Opportunists: After an endless flurry of conservative fear mongering tweets, one stood out as the most hypocritical, from phony "Democrat" Sheriff David Clarke. Often critical of anyone supposedly exploiting shooting rampages with politically motivated calls for tougher gun laws, Clarke wasn't afraid to make his point ghoulishly political:

Journal Sentinel's Dan Bice had this reminder:

Other tweeters noticed too....

Friday, November 13, 2015

DNR can't do anything about the effects of High Capacity Wells on our Water Supply.

Water is now there for the large dairy farms to take, regardless of what it might mean to anyone else, now or in the future. "The days of regulating by fiat are over," said WMC's Scott Manley. Yes, we're getting the feeling...a sinking one, that he may be right:
WPR: Judge Rules DNR Has No Authority To Monitor High Capacity Well: Two Wells Will Pump 500 Gallons Per Minute For Large Dairy Farm. A judge in Outagamie County has ruled the state Department of Natural Resources doesn't have the authority to monitor high-capacity wells at a large dairy in central Wisconsin. The New Chester Dairy plans to install two high-capacity wells that will each pump 500 gallons a minute to provide water for more than 8,600 cows. The judge ruled the DNR can't require a dairy to measure how that much pumping would affect ground water.

Scott Manley, of Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, calls the ruling a victory for employers and an endorsement of the current Legislature's efforts to roll back regulations that burden businesses. WMC fielded amicus briefs in support the suit brought by New Chester Dairy challenging the DNR's authority to require the monitoring wells. Manley said the ruling is a sign that "the days of (government agencies) regulating by fiat are over."

Sen. Duey Stroebel's Takeover of Local School Referendum a defunding Con!

Meddling where no idiot ideologue should meddle, Sen. Duey Stroebel is forging ahead with his big government takeover of local referendums. Here's what he wants to see happen:
A Republican bill in the State Senate would require school boards to hold referendums during traditional fall and spring elections. It would also prevent school boards from going back to voters for two years following a referendum’s rejection. Senator Duey Stroebel says his proposal protects taxpayers and restores integrity in the referendum process.
But he's also play tricks on parents and school districts, who will fall victim to his little con...and there won't be a thing they can do about it. Urban Milwaukee:
Bill Forces 3-Year Wait for School Referendums: Fine print shows schools whose funding referendums fail must wait 3 years to relaunch ... significantly longer than the minimum two-year wait specified in the bill.

Currently, school districts have significant flexibility in when they ask voters to approve new resources. Some lawmakers are seeking to reduce that flexibility, by requiring districts to wait at least 730 days – two years – after an unsuccessful referendum to put another referendum before voters.

The combination ... could be forced to wait as long as three years after an unsuccessful referendum to attempt another. For example, a school district that held an unsuccessful referendum in 2015 would be required to wait until 2018 to hold another one if the restrictions had been in place. That’s because only 729 days pass between the April 2015 election and the April 2017 election – just shy of the 730 day requirement – and there is no fall election in 2017, pushing the next potential referendum election into 2018.

Hate America Crowd of GOP candidates say it’s “beaten,” in “economic downturn,” “entrepreneurship is crushed,” “nothing that we do now to win,” “wages are too high.”

Republicans have always accused liberals of not liking America; whining about it and always trying to change it. But as you can see by the title, it's really a bad case of Republican projection.

Voxdotcom compared the GOP presidential candidates view of America with reality, and it’s not even close:
Anyone watching the fourth Republican debate we would be excused for thinking America is mired in a deep recession — that the economy is shrinking, foreign competitors are outpacing us, more Americans are uninsured, and innovators can't bring their ideas to market.
"We are a country that is being beaten on every front economically, militarily," sighed Donald Trump. "There is nothing that we do now to win." Ted Cruz said. "How do we bring back economic growth?" "We have to take our government back," said Carly Fiorina, "because innovation and entrepreneurship is crushed by the crushing load of a 73,000 page tax code" and "Obamacare isn’t helping anyone." "What we are going through in this country is not simply an economic downturn," said Marco Rubio. "We are living through a massive economic transformation." Ben Carson said, "Only 19.8 percent of black teenagers have a job who are looking for one," he said, "and that’s because of those high wages."
They would be surprised to find that unemployment is at 5 percent, America's recovery from the financial crisis has outpaced that of other developed nations, the percentage of uninsured Americans has been plummeting even as Obamacare has cost less than expected, and there's so much money flowing into new ideas and firms in the tech industry that observers are worried about a second tech bubble.  
Republicans still can’t offer a definitive plan that would make the numbers work. If anything (see the graph) they're promising to make things a whole lot worse. But that's probably just another way to justify even bigger cuts:
Republicans are increasingly focused on economic problems they don't really know how to solve, and don't have much credibility to say they will solve.
Republicans have entered into a disastrous arms race of ever more expensive tax plans that they have no way to pay for. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget released this graphic, which is based on the often optimistic estimates of the conservative Tax Foundation but still gives you a sense of how much these plans might cost:

Iowa Oscar Mayer deal takes corporate welfare to a new level!

It was part of Scott Walker's “Open for Business” policy; take neighboring states businesses away with taxpayer supported handouts and tax cuts.

But corporate giveaways like this just went off the Richter scale with the relocation of Oscar Mayer to Iowa, and the Des Moines Register noticed, with the following scathing opinion. Make no mistake, this is a Republican policy spurred on by special interests and irresponsible tax cuts. WSJ:
If you needed another sign that Iowa’s economic development incentives are out of whack, get a load of this baloney. Kraft Heinz is closing the world’s largest bologna plant, which employs about 1,400 workers at the Oscar Mayer works in Davenport, Iowa. The company plans to build a $200 million, state-of-the-art plant that will need just 475 workers.

In return, the company could get $20.75 million in state and local assistance. That works out to nearly $43,700 for every job Kraft Heinz agrees to keep. (About 200 of the jobs pay less than $37,000 a year, according to the state’s contract with the company.)

The deal represents a new low in the out-of-control race to keep or attract employers.

Incentives were once solely used to reward companies that actually created jobs. But then the state gave aid to companies for “retaining jobs,” such as investing in new equipment for their factories, even if no jobs were added. Now the state is giving Kraft Heinz $4.75 million, and the result is a net loss of 900 jobs. But Debi Durham, director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority, declared victory and argued that without the incentives, Iowa would have lost everything.

Iowa also awarded Kraft Heinz $750,000 in research and development tax credits. For what? To build a better bologna? This company produces such nutritionally rich “food” as ketchup, Lunchables, Velveeta and Jell-O. Or will the R&D investment go toward increased automation to reduce the number of processing jobs?

Our congressional delegation can work together to end the national bidding wars. We can ask presidential candidates their plan to stop the madness.

We can stop feeling helpless, as Davenport Mayor Bill Gluba sounded on Thursday as his city considered a $16 million incentive package: “It’s a sad commentary on modern-day capitalism that you have to give up property tax money, which is used to fund our schools, for jobs. But if you don’t do it, we don’t have the jobs to pay our taxes.”

A winner of a deal? More like a wiener.

After Democrats gave up on gas tax, vote to borrow transportation funding, Republicans now back tax and argue against borrowing.

Well, how about that, now that the Democrats went along with the lunacy of borrowing even more money for transportation funding, Republicans have decided to steal away their call to increase the gas tax. Checkmate.

While Republicans are willing to shut down the country to pass their austere agenda, Democrats are just trying to "get together," getting another black eye from their abusive political partner. Even deep red Republican states are raising gas taxes. But no, our spineless Democratic Party folded their tents, letting Republican state senators take the principled stand against borrowing, even backing a tax increase.

By actually siding with Scott Walker on borrowing, Democrats took the “outrage” out of the five-year-old road funding disaster. Seriously, when you don't even have a westbound exit for interstate traffic at the zoo interchange to Madison or Minneapolis, you've got a major league problem.

And yet, the Democrats didn't have enough fight left in them: 
Sen. Darling
WSJ: Republican leaders of the Legislature’s budget panel, after green-lighting borrowing to fund highway projects the next two years, say they’re serious about finding a long-term funding fix for roads in the next state budget.

“We can’t kick the can down the road any longer,” said Sen. Alberta Darling, co-chairwoman of the committee. “I know we’ve said that before – but we can’t.” Darling and the committee’s co-chairman, Rep. John Nygren, said lawmakers must consider a controversial fix: increasing the state’s 30.9-cent-per-gallon gas tax. “Many people look at a gas tax as a user fee. I think we should have all the options on the table,” said Darling, R-River Hills.

“We might need to revisit where ours is at,” Nygren said, noting that neighboring states Michigan and Iowa recently increased their gas tax rate. Darling and fellow Senate Republicans on the budget panel voted against the additional borrowing last week, saying it’s irresponsible to put more road projects on the state’s credit card.
 Yet Democrats don't have a strong hand to play here?
A recent U.S. Department of Transportation report found 71 percent of Wisconsin’s roads are in poor or mediocre condition — the third-largest percentage of any state. A spate of major highway expansion projects, including part of Verona Road in the Madison area and Interstate 39/90 from the Madison area to Illinois, have faced delays (2 additional years).
Another odd nonsensical position: With all the tax and spending cuts over the last 5 years, how can this Walker position make any sense?
Walker has said he won’t increase gas taxes or registration fees without a corresponding decrease in other taxes and fees — a stance that his spokeswoman, Laurel Patrick, reiterated this week.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Trump, Carson, Fiorina, and Christie would describe the Civil Rights movement today as “disgusting…infantile behavior…we’re being a little too tolerant…much further toward anarchy…political correctness!”

The idea is stunning. Did we just see the GOP presidential candidates inject themselves into a local campus’ problem with racism?

Yes, in the most bizarre way too. Here’s what happened:

The two frontrunners for the Republican presidential nomination criticized protests at the University of Missouri Thursday, arguing that the university administrators who resigned in the wake of racially-charged incidents may have set a harmful precedent by acquiescing to students' demands.

"I think it's disgusting," Donald Trump said in an interview on Fox Business Network. "I think the two people that resigned are weak, ineffective people. I think that when they resigned, they set something in motion that's gonna be a disaster for the next long period of time."

Republican candidate Ben Carson also said Thursday that students at the school were giving in to "infantile behavior. We're being a little bit too tolerant, I guess you might say, accepting infantile behavior. I don't care which side it comes from. To say that I have the right to violate your civil rights because you're offending me is un-American," he said on FOX News' The Kelly File. "The officials at these places must recognize that and have the moral courage to stand up it. Because if they don't, it will grow, it will exacerbate the situation and we will move much further toward anarchy than anybody can imagine, and much more quickly," he added.

Fellow Republican Carly Fiorina echoed concerns about "political correctness" on college campuses, telling reporters Thursday evening that the phenomenon is "choking candid conversations in this nation. One of the things you see going on, on so many college campuses now is kids are taught, you know, if anything offends their sensibilities that they should stand up and say, 'oh don't talk to me that about that.'" she said.

Speaking in Iowa, New Jersey Republican Chris Christie blamed the unrest on an atmosphere of "lawlessness" fostered by the president. "When people think justice is not applied evenly and fairly, they take matters into their own hands," he said during an appearance in Iowa.Democratic presidential candidates have been generally supportive of the protesters, emphasizing the students' fight to address the racially-charged incidents that originally prompted the tensions in Missouri and at other institutions nationwide.

Bernie Sanders said in a tweet that "it's time to address structural racism on college campuses."
Media Matters put it this way:
Only on Fox News are armed militia members protesting federal law "patriotic," while university students and faculty speaking out against racism are labeled as anarchists.
But that's not all, as you'll see in this story from Rachel Maddow about a Trump crowd reaction to another protester:
Johari Osayi Idusuyi, who received internet acclaim when she was seen on camera reading Claudia Rankine's “Citizen: An American Lyric,” a book of poetry about race, at a Donald Trump rally, talks with Rachel Maddow about what happened in the seats...

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Republicans squeeze Snowmobile Trail fees out of Wisconsinites now, just like out-of-staters.

Snowmobilers are going to be paying a hefty price for their fun little sport this year, thanks to a new "fee" passed by Republicans.

Fees come out of the same pocket as taxes, but sound better to conservatives, and have the benefit of maintaining a political pledge made to an out-of-state special interest group by Republican legislators. Everybody wins.

Oh and it makes us look better on the chart of high tax states, moving us down a few notches as we shift from taxes to fees.

Snowmobile registration is now $30 for 3 years, up from 2 years. But Wisconsin residents for the first time have to pay a trail fee of $30. In the end, snowmobilers will be spending an extra $75 over three years...where there once was no fee. Out-of-state snowmobilers will be tapped for $50.

This is all part of the new user fee structure in the state, where residents don't share in what Wisconsin offers anymore. As Wisconsinites, we no longer have skin in the game when it comes to our parks and trails, no pride of ownership. And isn't it fun not being responsible? That's what the Republican Party is all about.

Republicans are offering a discount if you belong to the states snowmobile lobby though, which isn't coercive in the least.

Here's WKOW's report:

GOP War on Workers, Trump: "Wages too high!!!" Rubio: "You're going to make people more expensive than machines!!!"

The GOP opened their debate in Milwaukee with the most revealing and truthful answer yet about their disdain for the middle class and the value they put on labor.

The Nation's John Nichols laid it out clearly today. Here's the video:

Moderator Neil Cavuto: "As we gather tonight—just outside, and across the country—picketers are gathering as well. They’re demanding an immediate hike in the minimum wage to $15 an hour. As the leading presidential candidate on this stage and one whose tax plan exempts couples making up to $50,000 a year from paying any federal income taxes at all, are you sympathetic to the protesters’ cause, since a $15 wage works out to about $31,000 a year?”

Trump responded: “I can’t be, Neil. [Taxes] too high, wages too high, we’re not going to be able to compete against the world. I hate to say it, but we have to leave [the $7.25-an-hour minimum wage] the way it is."
Carson also made up another mind bending theory:
"It's particularly a problem in the black community. Only 19.8 percent of black teenagers have a job, or are looking for one. You know that's because of those high wages. If you lower those wages that comes down."
So if we just had low wage jobs in the inner city, black teenagers would have jobs? Better paying jobs will only make things worse?

The Ugly Truth Is Out: Wow, wages are too high in the U.S. for this country to compete globally. This could be a news flash for tea party voters...or they just didn't notice. I think the latter. 

Nichols also pointed out another calmly delivered pathological lie from Ben Carson:
Dr. Ben Carson trotted out the favorite fantasy that raising wages leads to unemployment. “Every time we raise the minimum wage, the number of jobless people increases,” Carson claimed.
“That isn’t true,” responded Politico’s fact-check site. “Multiple studies have observed instances in which the minimum wage rose and unemployment did not rise.”
Welders...again? Marco Rubio sang the same sweet Scott Walker song about the dream job of welding. Supposedly the nations turning out too many philosophers, more than corporate American needs right now. It's welding, welding, welding!!! Rubio and Walker's preoccupation with welders got the Yglesias treatment:

Interesting note about a welders income and that of a philosophers, from WaPo:
PayScale, a firm that analyzes compensation, put the median mid-career income for philosophy majors at $81,200 in 2008, with welders making $26,002 to $63,698. And Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce said in a 2014 analysis that median incomes were $68,000 for people with an advanced degree in philosophy or religious studies
Minimum Wages are a Disaster in the 21st Century? Yes, that's what Marco Rubio said when he was asked:

Rubio: “If I thought that raising the minimum wage was the best way to help people increase their pay, I would be all for it, but it isn’t. In the 21st century, it’s a disaster. If you raise the minimum wage, you’re going to make people more expensive than machines. That means all the automation that is replacing jobs and people right now will be accelerated.”
Did he just object to people having more value than a machine? Folks, we have reached that turning point. Can “Terminator: Revenge of Rubio” be next?

Perhaps the Republicans need to brush up on their party's origins:
In a forum that Lincoln would not have recognized as a debate, they rejected the mantle of the radical founders of a party formed to fight the reactionaries who Lincoln warned would “place capital on an equal footing with, if not above, labor, in the structure of government.” 

“Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital,” Abraham Lincoln told the Congress in 1861. “Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.”

GOP Debate Crowd hates protecting Americans from Wall Street Banks.

Nothing says "moral bankruptcy" more than the Republican audiences booing over the idea we would protect retirees life savings from another Wall Street Banks collapse. Have we become so cold and callous we now value "philosophical concerns" - small government and deregulation - that we're okay with plunging Americans into poverty due to greed and irresponsible Wall St. banks?

Apparently yes. Business Insider took a look at pollster Frank Luntz's crowd reaction to Gov. John Kasich's defense of saving families from losing it all, especially for something as bizarre as "philosophical concerns:"

Kasich aggressively defended his position that he would bail out banks in the event of a potential financial collapse. Kasich was interrupted by a booing audience after he criticized Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) …
“When a bank is going under and people are going to lose their life savings, you don’t say you have to deal with philosophical concerns. Philosophy doesn’t work when you run something.”
It wasn't just audience members who didn't seem to appreciate Kasich's message: Veteran pollster Frank Luntz said that Kasich registered the "lowest score ever" in his focus group.
Truly jaw dropping. But Cruz and Carly Fiorina seemed to care more about the closing of smaller banks than recovering the public's money. Just a reminder; those smaller banks closed because of their own risky loans; and because Americans made a consumer decision to go elsewhere, like their local credit unions. The banks burned us and the public acted accordingly.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Challenging Racism is Racist say Race Card Republicans.

Tea party conservatives hate fighting racism. It's so divisive.

In a perfect example of pretzel logic, with a dash of white supremacy thrown in, I thought these political hit pieces stood out. Example one.

Challenging racism is racist: Check out how the Daily Caller reporter below blatantly turned "speech" into "policing thought:”
Is America Starting to Target Thought Crime? Last week, Michelle Obama made headlines when she exhorted graduating high schoolers in a commencement address to monitor their families for politically incorrect thoughts and behaviors. "First lady Michelle Obama is encouraging students to monitor their older relatives, friends and co-workers for any racially insensitive comments they might make, and to challenge those comments whenever they’re made."
“Comments,” not "thoughts," right? But conservatives don't see a difference…
Oh, if only we could control what other people think and feel. But until that magic day arrives, all we can do is set people against each other based on race, under the guise of “fighting racism.”
Don’t fight racism. It only divides people.

Scott Walker is a Racist: Let's just be honest about Walker and not sugar coat this or give him the benefit of the doubt. You don't try to leave racism alone or act like it doesn't exist if you're not okay with it. As I blogged back in September:

Walker is fixated on banning dissent, which he sees as a divisive “tone,” and wants to replace it with positive messaging and happy talk. In other words, ignore the problem.
“Instead of focusing on what divides us, we need to concentrate on what brings us together. We need to change the tone in America from chants and rallies that fixate on racial division." -Scott Walker
We can only unite the nation if we don't make racists angry. 

Michelle Obama, not like Laura Bush…who’s white.
Michelle Obama just disgraced America once again by complaining about unnecessary issues as the First Lady. Laura Bush would’ve never done this!
This is racist reporting. And our great defenders of the Constitution and free speech don’t like some free speech, especially a black person denouncing racism:
Look who's now calling people racist.
Michelle recently spoke at the Tuskegee University graduation in Alabama and instead of focusing on an inspirational message, she took the time to vent out her frustrations as the First Lady. She took the trendy route of racism as the root of the criticism she received during Obama’s 2008 campaign.
“As the first African-American First Lady, I was also the focus of another set of questions and speculations; conversations sometimes rooted in the fears and misperceptions of others. Was I too loud, or too angry, or too emasculating? Or was I too soft, too much of a mom, not enough of a career woman?”
Fighting racism is racism; leave us racists alone?
With all of the tragedies our society is facing today, you would think our First Lady wouldn’t perpetuate racism- especially not when speaking at a graduation to individuals full of so much potential. Look at the crowd listening to her—it is predominantly young, impressionable African Americans who are about to embark on their new careers and contributions to society.
When will black people like Michelle Obama be grateful and know their place:
Our First Lady should appreciate the honorable role she has received and not constantly complain about petty issues or create a stronger divide in America racially. If you’re tired of Michelle’s unnecessary complaints, share this article!

Monday, November 9, 2015

"War on Christmas" Crowd Demand, Commercialize Christmas or else!!!

If retailers don't find a way to turn consumer products into the blessings of Christmas, the American Family Association wants to vilify and run them out of the marketplace.

If you thought the petting bickering by Republican candidates for president was ridiculous, see what conservative voters are spending their days fuming over. It isn't Scott Walker, government secrecy, money from billionaires, corruption, cronyism, jobs or health care, that's for sure:
American Family Association: Criteria - AFA reviewed up to four areas to determine if a company was "Christmas-friendly" in their advertising: print media (newspaper inserts), broadcast media (radio/television), website and/or personal visits to the store. If a company's ad has references to items associated with Christmas (trees, wreaths, lights, etc.), it was considered as an attempt to reach "Christmas" shoppers.

If a company has items associated with Christmas, but did not use the word "Christmas," then the company is considered as censoring "Christmas."
What seems like an incredible joke is an actual conservative Republican tea party distraction from the real issues their party refuses to solve. 

Isn't it time we all commercialize and exploit the spirit of Christmas gift giving with a little crass intimidation? 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Obama's Recovery Act's Energy Program saved $5.2 billion, and created 62,902 jobs.

If American wants to lead, why not in clean energy, it's a no brainer. And yet, the facts below won't mean anything to anti-environment, anti-government, anti-American, anti-job creating freeloaders who are happy with fossil fuels. Republicans are still saying the Recovery Act was a failure:
This document presents findings from an evaluation of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program ... from 2009 to 2015. It was funded by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA or Recovery Act) and was a one-time program.

Labor impacts ... EECBG produced a net total job gain of 62,902 job years for the BPAs studied. 

EECBG saved $1.7 billion in social costs of carbon due to energy savings alone and an additional $62 million in social costs avoided from displaced energy as a result of renewable generation. 

Bill Savings and cost-effectiveness ... produced $5.2 billion of total cumulative savings on energy bills, 70% of which were realized by residential consumers, 29% in the public institutional sector, and 1% the commercial and industrial sectors. 
Here are some graphs:

Unions, Health Care and the Middle Class.

It always seemed odd to me how conservative lower and middle class workers jumped on board the union bashing bandwagon. Even though union membership never exceeded 35%, their presence did help both labor and the wealthy share in the nations prosperity during the 40's and late 50's.

But conservatives have an odd built in envy factor that goes into overdrive when they detect somebody is getting something they're not, and that was ripe for manipulation.

Anti-union corporate forces decided to exploit the envy factor in private sector workers, and that's where things went wrong for the lower and middle class:

To be fair, the researchers do note that these are just correlations, and while they seem to harbor some belief that they are causal, they reiterate that more testing would need to be done to connect them definitively.
There's a similar dynamic with health care. The US is the only industrialized country using health care as a weapon against its own citizens to prove how well capitalism works. Capitalism not only failed and killed Americans prematurely (loss of insurance), but the Affordable Care Act proved access helped in the nations jobs recovery.

Imagine what would happen if we really did repeal the Affordable Care Act, and its impact on jobs:
Over the past year, health care has added 495,000 jobs.
For Scott Walker, who love's to whine about how high the non-participation rate is nationally compared to Wisconsin, he left out one important factor; retiring baby boomers who have stopped looking for work. Kind of skews the numbers...:
The number of Americans not in the labor force last month totaled 94,513,000 -- a slight improvement from the 94,610,000 not in the labor force in September.

The number of Americans not in the labor force, still near the all-time high recorded in September, includes retirees.

...reducing individuals’ and employers’ health spending would make the U.S. economy more dynamic, while the ACA’s coverage provisions would free up workers from “job lock” and help protect them as they looked for better, more desirable employment.