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Saturday, December 12, 2015

Iowa's private Medicaid Plan: Chaos, Corruption, Cronyism.

Want to get a taste of what privatized, insurance based, so called “patient centered” health care looks like when Republican roll out their plan for the country?

Iowa is going to experiment on 560,000 of its citizens right away. Nothing like a modest roll out. Keep in mind, the federal government may not approve of Iowa's changes, but we'll see. Not to sound cruel, but I hope they get it, just to prove a point. 

After a lot of chaos and contracting with insurers who've already committed Medicare and Medicaid fraud, you might get a sense this could go terribly wrong:
Preparation Time?:The most sweeping and radical privatization of Medicaid ever attempted ... no state has tried to make such a wholesale change so quickly — in Iowa’s case, launching the program fewer than 90 days after signing contracts with private health-care companies ... some beneficiaries of the program are only now getting their enrollment packets (Dec.12), though the deadline for signing up is Dec. 17.

Chaotic Roll Out: The transition of Iowa’s $4.2 billion Medicaid program has made the rollout of HealthCare.gov look orderly.

Hiring Corrupt Insurers: An Iowa administrative law judge late last month recommended that Iowa throw out the contract it awarded to WellCare, one of the four companies hired to manage the new program, noting that the company failed to disclose details of its “integrity agreement” with the federal government after the 2014 convictions of three former executives involving the misuse of Medicaid money. In addition, WellCare had paid $138 million to resolve claims that it overbilled Medicare and Medicaid ... the four companies selected to operate the Iowa program have had more than 1,500 regulatory sanctions combined and have paid $10.2 million in fines over the past five years. These involved canceled appointments, privacy breaches, untimely processing and failure to obtain informed consent.

GOP Cronyism: Wellcare had also hired two former Iowa legislators, who improperly communicated with the Branstad administration during the bidding process.

Doctors and Hospitals Sign Incomplete Stripped Down ContractsHealth-care providers complain that they are being forced to sign incomplete contracts or face a penalty, and they complain that some contracts don’t cover services that had been covered under the existing Medicaid program.

Can't Prove Grandiose Savings Claim: Gov. Branstad’s administration has answered critics by saying the new program will save $51 million in its first six months. But he has been unable to come up with documentation to justify the cost savings for Iowa.

Faster, More Disastrous Roll Out than The Affordable Care Act: Branstad has implicitly acknowledged some difficulty. This week he extended until April the “safe harbor” in which Medicaid providers will receive 100 percent reimbursement regardless of managed-care network ... a Medicaid expert with the Kaiser Family Foundation said, “The provider networks for the plans have not yet been established. There’s a lot of confusion among beneficiaries.” Branstad could recognize this, and slow things down. In failing to do so, he’s relying more on dogma — faith that the private sector always does things better — than reality.

Friday, December 11, 2015

The Rise of Fascism in the U.S.!

Rachel Maddow again brings up the word "fascism" in what is becoming a dangerous moment in U.S. history. The rise of the radicalized right wing is now shifting what we once thought was bizarre, into the mainstream. Fascism isn't just an odd term to bring up nowadays, it's unfolding in front of us. And conservatives who have committed their identities to their party's leaders will not admit they failed.

This frightening look at fascism by Rachel Maddow proves we're getting close to the edge:

Walker's Wisconsin now comes in dead last in Business Startups.

Scott Walker's "Open for Business" state slogan has perception issues, according to Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce Foundation president Jim Morgan.  

That's the excuse now being given to explain Walker's Wisconsin coming in dead last in attracting new entrepreneurs. And it has nothing to do with the Republican majorities anti-education, anti-science, anti-Milwaukee, anti-clean energy positions, right. And hell, they're not done dragging Wisconsin's reputation into the ground with the continuing Walker disaster known as the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. 

Yea, people are getting the wrong impression, that's the ticket. Blame the people objecting to one bad bill after the next, from abandonment of environmental safeguards to dumbing down education, not Scott Walker:
WPR: Studies show people stay in Wisconsin because of the cost of living and natural beauty. Morgan said making that perception of the state mainstream is seriously needed.
That would seem near impossible to do, when you consider we're seeing declining incomes and increased levels of water pollution in our state. If we could just keep that bad news off the front pages:
Research Finds Wisconsin Is Home To Fewest Startups In The Nation: Ask WMC Leader Jim Morgan why Wisconsin comes in dead last in the race to attract new entrepreneurs, and he'll tell you it all comes down to perception.
"We see people often leaving because they don't think there are opportunities here, when actually we have a pretty diverse economy here and may have 60,000-70,000 open jobs. But if you're 16 or 17 years old, you don't see it."

"People in that 50 to 65 to 70 year range leave Wisconsin, and so they take their wealth with them, and so you don't have that investment," he said.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Walker won't let disapproval (58%); lagging in job creation (57%); and wrong track (53%) numbers stop him from running again.

Scott Walker's only one mind-numbing bragging point is the 4.3% unemployment number. Forget about people leaving out state for better high paying jobs. Forget about the massive number of layoffs that almost negate any job increases in the private sector.

Walker's 4.3% unemployment number is it, and he's thinking of riding that all the way to another run for governor...then president. Sure Minnesota's unemployment number is 3.7%, but comparisons aren't allowed by Walker, because his policies won't see any results for another 10 years or so.

Here's Walker's subtle but definite nod for another term as governor. Oh sure, the media with toy with the fact it wasn't an official announcement, but really, he just said it:

Republican bill helps towns secede from Dane County's zoning control.

While Republicans double down on their efforts to remove local control from what they call a hodgepodge of confusing regulations, they’re making one noticeable exception. Taking aim at liberal Dane County, legislation would add an element of chaos and local infighting, and give conservative areas the ability to secede.
   
The consequences are huge, but then, that’s the point. WSJ:
After a measure that would allow towns to opt out of Dane County’s zoning control was excluded from the state budget, 13 legislative Republicans have revived the effort as a standalone bill. Under current Wisconsin law, cities and villages control decisions on rezoning farmland for residential or commercial construction, but most towns share the authority. Both the town and the county hold veto power over proposals.

The legislation that would allow towns to opt out of that system would apply only to counties with populations over 485,000. Dane County’s official population in the 2010 Census was 488,075, and the only other county above that threshold, Milwaukee County, does not have any towns.
Coincidence? The potential negative impact to the environment is probably what made Republicans bring this back, since it’s already a goal built in to the stripped down DNR.
Tim Roehl, Dane County Towns Association vice president and a town of Middleton supervisor, has spearheaded past lobbying efforts … Roehl proposed a development in 2010 with 89 residential lots in the former town of Windsor.

After a lengthy review process, the county’s Zoning and Land Regulation Committee approved only 52 residential lots, citing poorly drained soils and a high water table that could cause “water problems” if single-family homes were built in the areas originally proposed.

But Josh Wescott, chief of staff for Parisi, said considerations like that are a reason the county’s zoning staff should be involved in review processes.

And it’s reasons like that excite Republicans! Is it really a danger to water? Silly liberals, they just hate business. For the best look at how Scott Walker and the Republican majority are doing little to nothing safe guarding our water supply, go to this report at Wisconsin Watch. I guarantee, you will be outraged.

Scalia a Racist!!! Said about blacks in Texas affirmative action case: "...having them go to a less-advanced school, a slower track school where they do well."

An important affirmative action case, now before the the Supreme Court, is about to be decided by a shockingly racist justice; Antonin Scalia!!! There's no question on this one.

The fact that the major media didn't lead with this story may be the next biggest headline. From Mother Jones:
Justice Scalia Suggests Blacks Belong at "Slower" Colleges: Yes, he really said that.

Scalia's comments came during arguments in Fisher v. University of Texas, a case over whether the university's use of race in a sliver of its admissions decisions is constitutional:
“There are those who contend that it does not benefit African Americans to get them into the University of Texas, where they do not do well, as opposed to having them go to a less-advanced school, a slower-track school where they do well. One of the briefs pointed out that most of the black scientists in this country don't come from schools like the University of Texas. They come from lesser schools where they do not feel that they're being pushed ahead in classes that are too fast for them.”

"I'm just not impressed by the fact the University of Texas may have fewer [blacks]. Maybe it ought to have fewer. I don't think it stands to reason that it's a good thing for the University of Texas to admit as many blacks as possible."
Right wing bloggers are desperately trying to defend Scalia by pointing out he was only reflecting what other people have been saying, a familiar Republican smear tactic that shifts responsibility for their comments to some anecdotal source. I'm not buying it this time or ever. It's not actually a serious academic critique. In the real world we call it racism. Scalia's own statement above gives it his stamp of approval:
...once the transcript emerged, it turned out that critics had jumped the gun. Scalia wasn’t sharing his own views, he was asking about a very serious academic critique of affirmative action that others had made.
And while the above defense of Scalia will give every racist cover, it's is what it is, BS. In a shoot-the-messenger moment that completely and conveniently ignores the issue....


By the way, the brief cited by Scalia reminded me of anti-climate change researchers that typically trash the prevailing science for not being 100% perfect. Check it out here. For anyone to take this brief seriously, after reviewing the incendiary framing of affirmative action policy, you really have to wonder about the competence of any Justice pushing this crap. Here's an example:
The breadth of mismatch effects, and the failure of higher education institutions to grapple with the problems they raise, reinforce the importance of not deferring to the rhetoric of universities that pervades preference programs, and of pushing universities to be transparent and to demonstrate empirically the specific benefits they contend will flow from racial preferences in admissions.
 Check out this analysis, which better explains away the theory above.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Minnesota's Democratic Party projected Surpluses vs Wisconsin's Republican projected shortfalls.

As Minnesota out distances Wisconsin in almost every way, Republicans should be forced to answer the question why Wisconsin can't keep up. Oh sure, they'll bore us with old talking points that in no way compares to the way Minnesota is beating us. Scott Walker can't pull out his only bragging point about the unemployment numbers since Minnesota's is even lower. 

Growth may be slower in Minnesota, but that's because the state has already recovered, while Wisconsin is still trying to gained back the jobs lost during the Bush Great Recession. 

But Walker's Republicans will say Minnesota's surplus is bad, because it means they've overtaxed their citizens. SJ: 
While Wisconsin's budget, enacted in July, sets the state up for a $210 million structural deficit, legislators across the Mississippi are arguing over how to spend a $1.9 billion surplus.
Give that surplus money back!!! That's what George W. said when he became president, paving the way for tax cuts. Instead of using those surpluses to pay the nations debt and replace our crumbling infrastructure, he wiped out what Mitch Daniels called "surpluses as far as the eye could see." And for good measure, plunged the nation into trillion dollar wars. 

Projected surpluses should be used to replenish and rebuild, improve and save, not give back as tax cuts. The money we invest now will be money our kids will not have to raise later on in the form of taxes. Tax cuts now just gives the bill to another generation. 
Some of Minnesota's extra money must go to its budget reserves, but the remaining $1.2 billion is up for grabs. Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, a Democrat, is calling for the money to be spent on road and bridge improvements and expanding early childhood education. 

But Minnesota Republicans argue a surplus that large is a sure sign the state has overtaxed its citizens. 

Wisconsin legislators will have a $210 million projected shortfall to account for going into the 2017-19 budget.

State DNR loosen reins on Diseased Deer, spreading CWD everywhere....

While other states crack down on the spread of chronic wasting disease, infected deer in Wisconsin are being allowed to spread everywhere. I know, it doesn't make sense.

And now, the DNR is letting things slide even further. Janesville Gazette Xtra: 
AP: Wisconsin deer farmers can opt out of the state's chronic wasting disease monitoring program without upgrading their fences under an emergency rule the state DNR adopted Wednesday despite concerns the move could spread the disease.
That’s sadly laughable, because the state has already given up on controlling the spread of CWD infected deer.
Wisconsin is taking steps this year to continue at least some testing to keep tabs on a deadly disease that is spreading through the state’s deer herd, even though hunters no longer need to bring carcasses in for registration. But the number of tests is dwindling while prevalence of chronic wasting disease in Wisconsin grows and neighboring states fight to control it, the DNR has half the CWD testing budget it had last year and enough resources to analyze tissue from 4,000 carcasses, down from 7,500 last year, said Tami Ryan, the agency’s wildlife health section chief.
This is all part of Scott Walker's plan to talk up the positive, ignore the negative. Yet the possible dangers are real:
Fear of eating CWD-tainted venison initially scared many hunters and made owners of hunting land in southern Wisconsin concerned that their property would lose value if the hunt died off, said Jeff Schinkten, national president of Whitetails Unlimited.
But regulation is making it harder for deer farms to exist, so goodbye regulation. Oh, and we want to have a good relationship with these farmers:
Federal agriculture officials imposed new standards on state monitoring programs in 2012. DNR officials say they're worried that deer farmers might not be able to afford to comply with the federal regulations, be thrown out of the monitoring program and have to shell out money they don't have to upgrade to double or solid fencing.

The rule is designed to spare farmers extra expenses and help maintain a good relationship with farmers. The DNR inspects each farm's fence at least once a decade, he added. That gave some board members pause. William Bruins said the DNR should pay more attention to farm fences more often, noting storms and weather can destroy them ... the department pledged (they) would address inspections in a permanent version of the rule. The board ultimately adopted the emergency regulations on a unanimous vote.
We can't say we weren't warned:
George Meyer, a former DNR secretary who now leads the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, urged the board to reject the rule. Relaxing the fencing mandate for farms outside the monitoring program could lead to more escaped deer that could spread CWD. The DNR recorded 29 escapes this year alone ... "The DNR fencing requirement is the last safeguard to prevent further CWD contamination of the wild deer herd," Meyer said.

Walker balances clean water with impact on business, where business always wins.

Like everything else Wisconsin had going for it, the great outdoors is getting the Scott Walker once over. Tourism, hunting and fishing seem like a second thoughts to Scott Walker and Republican legislators seeking to slash government deregulation.  

It's gotten so bad that opponents had no choice but go to the EPA for help, sounding the alarm:
WPR: A group of former and retired DNR employees are urging the EPA to make the state step up its regulation of water pollution … requested that federal regulators force the DNR to improve its enforcement of the Clean Water Act. Retired DNR employee Ron Grasshoff: "I just saw an erosion and a trend of the DNR straying away from its original mission, which is to protect the air, water and soils of the state.”
We have to force the DNR to do their job? Only in Walker's Wisconsin have we seen this kind of destruction...: 
The letter cites cuts in science budgets, orders to cease discussion of climate change, and gag orders on employees as some of the most serious problems with the DNR … cut upwards of 600 positions … Enforcement by the DNR has also declined, and in some cases, the agency has said it lacks legal authority to carry out that responsibility.
But Walker responded with perhaps one of the most ridiculous and convoluted reasons ever uttered by a state governor. Again, there's never a good outcome when Republicans try to "balance" the environment with making money. WPR
Gov. Scott Walker is rebuking a claim by former state DNR officials ... saying the state is balancing environmental and economic concerns.
"The fact that citations have gone down is a good thing because in this state, we believe that if a citation is issued, that's a sign that something went wrong. So, just because the number of citations have gone down isn't a reflection of the quality in terms of water, air and land," he said ... be more proactive in working with would-be violators ... (saying) his ultimate goal is to have no citations issued at all.
No citations at all because...we have reached environmental perfection, or just given up? Walker is now about to give polluters more time to clean things up:
A hearing will look at a proposal to give industries and municipalities more time to reduce phosphorus discharges into Wisconsin waterways ... the Multi-discharger Phosphorus Variance!

However, attorney Elizabeth Wheeler, of Clean Wisconsin, contends a state review of the plan inflates the cost of upgrading treatment plants and leaves out the potential financial benefits to shoreline property owners. "You don't want that waterbody to be polluted with toxic algae, you want to be able to enjoy it, and swim in it and fish in it, and so there is that direct economic value," she said. Wheeler also said local tourism-related businesses gain when companies and cities reduce phosphorus pollution.

Walker's taxpayer handouts to private contractors costs more than if we gave the work to state workers.

The Department of Administration recommended the state do its own work, which could save lots of money, and cut back on private more expensive contractors. But that doesn't mesh with Mr. "small government" Scott Walker. Actually, it's not about small government really, it's just a redistribution of taxpayer money to the open pockets of big business:
WPR: Private Contracting Rises 7.5 Percent In State Government: State Agencies Spend Nearly $500M On Private Contracting In Last Fiscal Year

The Department of Administration delivered a report to the Legislature's chief clerks and the Legislative Fiscal Bureau on Friday that found overall contracting increased from $565 million to $607 million. University of Wisconsin System contracting increased by 8.6 percent, from $114 million to $123 million. State agencies spent $483 million on contracting. The Department of Health Services spent the most of any agency, at $191 million.

The report recommends agencies continue to examine using state workers before contracting for information technology services and consider using a common contractor across agencies for similar tasks, which could result in significant cost savings.

Muppet book for Kindergartners too bleak for school board member pushing American Exceptionalism.

Consider the source? It's a simple solution for communities that are being asked to spin their wheels on another outrageous attempt to censor books in our schools. Just how bad could a Muppet book be that shows compassion for a child that lives in a box? 

Right Wing curriculum based on "American Exceptionalism:" We're seeing this American Exceptionalist movement take off in deep red Republican states that want to replace Common Core with a positive spin on American history - none of that bad stuff.  

The Muppet book is targeted by a new school board member, who as recently as July...
...threatened not to enroll her child in the district last week over new standards for social studies classes that dictate how teachers should prepare children to be world citizens. "This curriculum will fundamentally transform the next generation's perception of America, and what makes us great and unique," said School Board member Mary Carney.
Holy crap? So shouldn't we consider the source before spending time reviewing an innocent Muppet book. As you can see by the Amazon ratings, parents loved the book...except for one.
Curriculum based on this...???
MARSHFIELD - A school board member who fears a children's book about the Muppets is too graphic for young children will try to get the book removed from kindergarten curriculum ... the book “For Every Child a Better World” by Jim Henson ... she contends, contains images of suffering children living in poverty and violence, including one illustration that shows a child living in a box in the rain. Some people have said they were traumatized after reading the book, according to Mary Carney, who cited online reviews as evidence.
“I just have concerns that it’s too graphic, even though these are Muppets characters. Unfortunately in this world there is a lot of war and strife and poverty; I understand that. I just don’t know how appropriate that is to be teaching that to 5-year-olds.”
Carney, who was elected to the School Board in April, has previously raised concerns with the school's kindergarten through sixth grade social studies curriculum. As part of objecting to the Henson book in July, Carney also claimed the curriculum takes away teachers' autonomy and "downplays American exceptionalism" by focusing too much on global affairs.

As for the book, Carney wants it removed from the district’s kindergarten social studies curriculum, which teachers are scheduled to use in early 2016. She is also asking that district administrators keep a closer watch on what books are being used in schools.

School Board Vice President Amber Leifheit, who heads the School Board's Curriculum and Instruction Committee, said no one aside from Carney has raised concerns about the book. In fact, Leifheit said, she read the book and found it acceptable. "Looking at it, I do not have concerns. I believe it shows compassion for people other than yourself. I think that’s a good thing."

Walker's inadvertent admission: Muslims unwelcome, shouldn't enjoy Freedom to Worship in US.

Remember when Scott Walker said during his failed presidential campaign that there is a “handful of reasonable and moderate followers of Islam." It was a peek into Walker's darker agenda.

That was also just one early sign Republicans were ready to take aim Muslims and the 1st Amendment.

At the Milwaukee Jewish Federation's menorah lighting ceremony, Walker didn't just skip over the one major religion dominating the news today, but denied he singled out any religion after singling out 4 of them. After blaming the media for his own bigoted shortcomings, our Humpty Dumpyist Governor tried to word-salad his way out of trouble (audio below):

Walker Rails Against Media After Reporter Questions Religious Freedom Quote: Walker Omitted Islam When Listing Off Religions Who Enjoy Freedom To Worship ... left out Muslims when listing off religious groups that deserve the freedom to worship Monday. Afterward, when a reporter pointed out the omission, Walker criticized the news media, and said he didn't specifically mean to "single one (group) or the other out."

He said that "whether someone is Jewish, or Christian, or Hindu, or Buddhist, or whatever it might be, that particularly here in America, we recognize that that's one of the great tenets."

A reporter later asked Walker why he left Muslims off his list.
As you can see, he singled out four religions. And yet Walker said he did no such thing and then blamed the media for pointing out his unintentional slip of religious bias:
"Pointing that out is typical of the media," said Walker. "Somebody asked me the other day, what did I find out about the media? It's like, what did I leave out? I just rattled off a bunch. You could mention three or four other religions. I didn't specifically single one or the other out."
The guy that yelled Walker was "a schmuck" before getting tossed from the ceremony, was right of course. and another reason why Walker doesn't makes open to the public appearances.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Trump compared to Hitler & Lord Voldemort!

The Republican presidential primary should covered by comedians, not reporters.

This is the least serious, most bizarre off the wall group of dumb asses yet, and I thought 2012 was hard to beat. It's impossible to pretend Trump, Cruz, Bush and Rubio have something thoughtful to say. If this were a movie, we would have walked after the first insulting debate and asked for our money back.

Here's another insulting example from Bizarro World:


HILL: Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump early Tuesday rejected criticism (and) said he was not worried about being compared to Hitler. "We're at war — get it through your head."
Kids book writer J.K. Rowling couldn't pass up acknowledging the emergence of another super villian:

Ted Cruz comes in at a close second to Trump and Lord Voldemort:

Monday, December 7, 2015

Unlike Walker's Wisconsin, Michigan Republicans pushed Clean Energy Job Creation!

We know how much Scott Walker and legislative Republicans love coal, and hate rate raising and job killing renewable energy.

Prepared to be shocked; Michigan Republicans apparently know something we don’t, because they have created the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum…I know, crazy huh? Actually, Wisconsin Republicans are the crazy ones, to pass up what Michigan has done; create jobs and industry. Midwestenergy News:
In Michigan, more than 300 businesses are active in the clean-energy sector, creating a supply chain of manufacturing, financing, engineering, designing and installing wind, solar and advanced battery systems, according to a new report from the Chicago-based Environmental Law and Policy Center … found at least 187 businesses in the solar supply chain and at least 133 in wind …. also home to several companies that have transitioned from traditional sectors to advanced energy systems. That diverse industry — ranging from small incubator start-ups to global manufacturers — has “generated billions in economic activity in recent years.”
This is what Walker and the Republicans are blocking in order to preserve our dependence on coal:
The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum, a Republican-led group pushing for more clean energy development in the state, earlier this year pegged total investment at $2.2 billion and supporting 6,000 jobs. The group issued a report in 2014 saying that a renewable portfolio of 20 percent by 2025 would result in a total output of over $6.5 billion, support more than 41,000 job years and create $2.11 billion in employee compensation
And unlike Walker, who doesn’t believe in achieving any future energy savings:
It has supported Gov. Rick Snyder’s goal of 40 percent by 2025 through renewables and energy efficiency.
“Stand with Walker” trolls must have lower expectations...:
Amy Butler, executive director of OU INC, a business incubator at Oakland University in southeast Michigan that specializes in clean-energy startups, agrees there is a direct link between energy policy and economic development. There is not only an environmental case to be made for clean energy, she says, but a business one as well. “Strong energy policy will attract energy solution companies to the state.”
Storm clouds are on the horizon, as some Republicans try to sabotage clean energy jobs and progress by legislation suggested by the state's powerful utilities. We'll see what happens.

Double-speak Ryan Doubles Down on Doing Nothing

I think it’s time to start holding do-nothing Republicans accountable for their frustrating irresponsible behavior.

No one has perfected those do-nothing excuses like Paul Ryan. He effortlessly promises to do nothing. In one article, I found these, starting with an easy one - the no-fly list:
WSJ: Paul Ryan on Monday panned President Barack Obama's call to ban people on the 
federal no-fly list from buying guns, calling it "a distraction" from the broader war on terror … the no-fly list includes many people not suspected of terrorist acts. “A mid-level bureaucrat can put anybody on a no-fly list with no due process rights” So what is Ryan's strategy … “If we think a person is suspected of a terrorist act, let’s go get them -- pure and simple.”
Brilliant? Quite the leader. Here’s another:
Speaking of Obama's call for Congress to formally authorize military force against the Islamic State, Ryan said he believes "it could be a strong signal to send that we are going on offense" against the group but said a sticking point could be concerns that such an authorization could tie the hands of the next president.
Do-nothing Ryan makes it sound so easy. And he wasn’t done not committing to anything:
...whether they deserve it or not.
He's open to Obama's call for Congress to authorize military force against the Islamic State terrorist group … but Obama's speech had a crucial omission: what his administration will do differently to fight terror groups such as the Islamic State. “What I heard more was a defense of his containment strategy -- not an adjustment to a new strategy. We should not try to defend what has been our failing policy.”

And don’t forget Paul Ryan’s commitment to provide a complete detailed plan to replace the Affordable Care Act before the next election, just like all the other times they provided a detailed list…oh wait, they didn’t.

It's well known that Ryan met with other Republicans on the first day of Obama's presidency and promised stop every part of his agenda. This new contortion - doing nothing - replaces that scheme.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Typical Responsible Republican Gun Owner Response?

My conservative friend in Milwaukee loves tell me after every one of these mass shootings that "Democrats immediately try to exploit the situation by trying to take away our guns."

I asked him; after a car accident, would you choose to talk about football, a good place to eat or the car accident?

Why is it so hard to understand: background checks and other reasonable gun laws don't take peoples guns away. The other day I was listening to Free Talk Live, a laughably naive and clueless libertarian style radio show, where they concluded everyone one should be able to get a gun no matter what their record, because the Second Amendment, as seen by our activist conservative Justices, clearly says that.

Now that these ivory tower justices have armed paranoid Americans with their radical interpretation, they can just sit back and watch the social carnage unfold. And it is!

One major voice in the conservative movement to shoot everyone considered a soft target, Erick Erickson set the tone for the discussion:


“This is what I think of the New York Times editorial today,” Erickson posted on Instagram, with a photo of bulletholes through the editorial on gun laws.

“The United States suffered it worst terrorist attacks since September 11 and the New York Times’ response it that all law-abiding citizens need their guns taken away,” Erickson added. “Screw them.”
Anyone want to rent Idiocracy? Check this out from Alternet:
The attacks—from a former GOP congressman taunting the U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch to arrest him after threatening American Muslims on air, to RedState.com encouraging people to shoot the Saturday edition of The New York Times for its editorial calling for a ban on all militarized weapons and to post that image online—are the tip of this latest rage-filled response. Ex-New York Gov. George Pataki, a going-nowhere GOP 2016 candidate, also calledfor “war on radical Islam” and taunted Lynch. Fox News is berating moderate Muslims to “fix this,” while other right-wingers mock their spokesmen.

Pain, Suffering, Disability, and Bankruptcy the consequences of Gun Shot Injury Victims and Families.

Tightwad conservatives like to brag about saving money and voting in politicians that promise to cut taxes, because after all, why pay for the American standard of living when you can freeload off the investment made by past generations.

And yet these "freedom" loving 2nd Amendment zealots are just fine with the tragic consequences of their gun rights. The overly broad interpretation by activist conservative Supreme Court Justices, who started this ball rolling, should find it hard to sleep at night overturning a century and half of court decisions.

Thank god we're now talking about the cost of gun injuries, not just the sad and tragic gun deaths that are said to be the "price we pay for our freedom."

These gun violence victims cost everyone money. Sadly, if 20 children killed in an elementary school isn't enough, may taking a few bucks out of their pockets will make a difference for right wing low information voters.

The Journal Sentinel broke it down for us. Now, what's the excuse?
(After) Claudiare Motley (was) shot, it set off a cascade of costs, from the surgeons who repair damaged organs to the police who collect evidence and try to identify a suspect … The direct costs of his shooting alone were at least $700,557 … Of that amount, nearly 60% is to incarcerate and supervise a 15-year-old who shot him. An arrest, trial and conviction push the bill higher. Those costs spill out to the public. Motley had to cancel the trip, losing about $11,000 in prebooked travel arrangements, and was unable to contribute to the family business as he normally would. He estimates he was out about $50,000 in lost income.

Taxpayers foot the bill for the police, court and prison resources. In many cases, gunshot victims are uninsured and rely on government or charitable programs to cover medical costs. That's to say nothing of the societal costs — grief and anguish of loved ones, families living in fear, neighborhoods losing property values, people moving away and fewer businesses coming in. "We're all victims of gun violence in a very tangible way," said Philip J. Cook, a professor of public policy, economics and sociology at Duke University … 583 people survived gunshot wounds in Milwaukee last year.

Statewide, there were 349 hospitalizations and 742 emergency department visits because of firearm-related injuries in 2014 … About half of emergency visits and 60% of hospitalizations are covered by Medicaid or Medicare, which are public insurance programs. The total amount public insurance programs paid for gun-related injuries in 2014 was about $6 million. 

More than a decade ago, Cook, the economist who studies the cost of gun violence, and his research partner found nearly half of the medical cost of treating gunshot wounds ends up being absorbed by government or charity programs. "With a very high percentage of that cost borne by the public, it ends up showing up in tax bills. It's a shared expense whether we are feeling charitable or not."