Friday, January 19, 2018

Walker's opposition to High Speed Rail Kills Minnesota's dream for speed between Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul!!!

Unlike all the other states in the Midwest, Wisconsin is now more painfully backward than any of us ever imagined. 
GOP legislators halt Minnesota-Wisconsin high-speed rail study...Critics say exploring route from Twin Cities to Milwaukee is pointless. 

In December Republicans Rep. Paul Torkelson and Sen. Scott Newman objected to the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) accepting federal grant money to complete the study — largely because Wisconsin opposes high-speed rail ... work on the study has stopped after just over $1 million in state and federal money had already been spent on it. 

Since 2010, high-speed rail has been a hot-button political issue in Wisconsin. GOP Gov. Scott Walker declined $810 million in federal stimulus money for a Madison-to-Milwaukee line, saying it would be too expensive to build and maintain. Walker’s opposition to the service remains unchanged, according to Torkelson. “It would be rather inappropriate for us to spend federal funds when there’s no chance of it going forward,” he said. (Walker’s office did not return phone calls.)

Generally speaking, high-speed trains are capable of sustained speeds of 150 mph or more — which is the case in Europe and Asia. Some trains in China, which has bet big on the high-speed rail, whisk along at 220 mph.
The United States has no true high-speed rail service. A report by the Midwest High Speed Rail Association attributes this to a lack of funding, the difficulty of getting state, local and municipal governments to agree on a plan, and outdated safety regulations and infrastructure. The majority of Amtrak trains share track with freight. And there’s Americans’ storied love of their automobiles.

Stopping the Minnesota high-speed project is shortsighted because it prevents what he called “a basic assessment” to understand what’s needed.

Dumb Ron Johnson's Homeland Security Opioid Fiasco Fantasy.

There's a reason why I call him, Dumb Ron Johnson. This is just another example.
click here
The fantasy was that Medicaid expansion is to blame for the opioid crisis in the United States. The ringmaster was Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.). Johnson has been flogging this notion for the better part of a year, or longer, despite the utter lack of evidence that it’s true — and plenty of evidence that the opposite is true.
Just imagine if the U.S., or for that matter any other country in the world, had universal health care. The horror, where everyone is on opioids!!! Oh, other countries have universal care and they don't have the same problem as the U.S? That's our Dumb Ron Johnson.

From NPR, I caught this audio clip of Johnson's embarrassing freak out:



Johnson even put out a Homeland Security report listing coincidences and pure mumbo-jumbo all on official paper shown above with link.

Michael Hiltzik of the Los Angeles Times had a field day with Johnson's lunacy, with graphs and facts. Maybe Hiltzik should be in charge of Homeland Security:


The witnesses included one anti-Medicaid ideologue, two local prosecutors who testified that they’ve seen a lot of addicts in their work and lots of them seem to be on Medicaid, and two experts who, tactlessly, pointed out that the causes of the opioid epidemic are many and complex, that it started years before Medicaid expansion, and that it involves patients and doctors in Medicare and private insurance as well as the uninsured. As Andrew Kolodny of Brandeis University told Johnson’s committee, this was the product in part of the drug industry’s “brilliant, multifaceted marketing campaign that changed the culture of opioid prescribing.”

The Republican campaign against Medicaid could only make the opioid crisis worse. That’s because Medicaid pays for a huge proportion of opioid treatments, covering fully one-third of those with addiction problems.
Here are the charts...
A chart reproduced from a report he released Wednesday pinning the crisis on Medicaid fraud paired five Medicaid expansion states with neighboring non-expansion states, purporting to show much higher increases in opioid deaths in the expansion states from 2013 to 2015. Johnson didn’t seem to notice that the 55% increase in Maine, one of his non-expansion states, actually exceeded the increase in three of his expansion states — Ohio (41%), Maryland (44%) and West Virginia (27%).

Trump Party Predictions pt 2...


Screnock mansplains Dallet's supposed lack qualifications as next Justice.

Screnock! No, it's not the name of a troll warrior from Lord of the Rings. It's the name of a cranky conservative judge who clearly knows more about the "rule of law" than anyone else, and thinks women don't have the ability to serve the people like a man.

The law is conservative Judge Michael Screnock says; it's not liberal, it's not neutral or...whatever, and Screnock will rewrite it if it's not conservative enough yet.That's guaranteed.

It drives me crazy: But really, conservative judges interpreting laws in a conservative way are...politically conservative. Originalists are conservatives who say the law is conservative. Yet, a neutral judge who defies the conservative line, is a liberal and unqualified. 

It's time to take back this conservative garbage, as justice candidate Judge Rebecca Dallet does here. Warning: Screnock thinks this is a "shocking" comment from a woman: 
State Supreme Court candidate Rebecca Dallet laid into opponent Sauk County Circuit Judge Michael Screnock this week for using “all this rhetoric about rule of law garbage.”  
"He’s talking about all this rhetoric about rule of law garbage that is basically — it’s rule of law until it’s something you want changed and then you just go ahead and change it. When the Legislature gets it wrong and they violate someone’s rights, it’s my job to say no. I am not a rubber stamp of whatever the Legislature does or whatever the governor does."
Screnock mansplains women should settle down, know their place, know their limits, and don't use "such language." Of course, Scronock had his condescending spokesMAN backhand Dallet instead:
Screnock spokesman Sean Lansing expressed alarm over her comments. "It is shocking to hear a sitting judge, let alone a candidate for our state's highest court, use this language, and it seriously calls into question her ability to serve the people of Wisconsin as an impartial arbiter of the law."

Scott Walker's Act 10 wrecking ball lowers Teacher Standards, doubles lower quality "Emergency Licenses!!!"

We're now lowering the bar for teacher hiring in Wisconsin, thanks to Scott Walker's biggest bragging point, Act 10. It's also time for Democrats to drive this point home, now that Republicans are attempting to solve a major problem they created with Act 10 by dramatically lowering the bar for teacher hiring statewide. 

From a previous blog post, this event was a pelude to the growing teacher shortage:
___________________________________________________________________________________________

Now anyone can teach our kids, says one rural republican politician. Underfunded rural schools, struggling desperately to keep their teachers from leaving, just got the conservative kind of help they voted for. jsonline:
A rural schools leader said that's not what rural schools asked for. "Heavens no," said Jerry Fiene, executive director of the Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance. "This totally destroys any licensure requirements that we have in Wisconsin. It's very concerning."
New Low in Stupidity: May I introduce you to Rep. Mary Czaja (R-Irma). But she's not alone...her fellow dullards in the assembly love the idea:
Problem solver or dimwit?
She said pursued the (following) measure...
Anyone with a bachelor's degree could be hired and licensed to teach sixth- through 12th-grade English, math, social studies or science in Wisconsin And any person with relevant experience — even a high school dropout — could be licensed to teach in any other non-core academic subject in those grades. 
Czaja agreed it might make it easier to become a teacher in Wisconsin than in any other state. Czaja couldn't name any districts that had asked for the broader flexibilities.
"The districts are going to be the ones that hire these people, and I firmly believe that they're not going to throw somebody in there that isn't doing a good job. This is just flexibilities. They don't have to use it." 
Scott Walker's Act 10 "Emergency Licenses:" Doesn't sound right...right? Sure we've got a budget surplus, but it didn't have to come at the expense of teachers or public education. These dumbed down emergency licenses are on the increase too, with no sign of slowing down:

Alan Shoho, the Dean of the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, said the school's enrollment is down from historical numbers. He tells us jobs that once had 120 candidates before Act 10 now fall closer to 20. "We can talk about compensation, we can talk about working conditions, but I boil it down to this one word and its respect.". He feels the lack of respect has caused detrimental changes in teacher education.
 So now we've created emergency licenses. Here's TMJ4 with the bad news:



Walker to the Rescue, Again, Fixing a Problem He Created?
Here's what's worse; not only does Walker have to fix a problem he created, but like everything else, he's lowered the bar with a half-assed band-aid that's just as destructive. From WKOW a look at the teacher problem and the solution - make it easier to become a teacher?:


-Some teachers get a taste of today's workplace and leave education entirely … pressures and politics of the job have heightened in recent years … it's common to hear teachers say they feel disrespected by the public, unsupported by their administration and beaten up by parents.

-Act 10 has created an open market for teachers, which makes it harder for districts to retain staff with sought-after skills. "Everyone is talking about resignation rates, they're higher everywhere in the past several years," Johnna Noll, director of instructional services at the West Allis-West Milwaukee Public Schools said.
Walker: "Improving the Quality of the Classrooms is Priceless...:" Walker's worse than anticipated solution to hiring unqualified teachers is "improving quality?" That's what's he going to say in the state of the state address:
Walker also previewed a message he'll deliver on Wednesday, touting historic spending on K-12 education in his latest budget and the impact of his controversial 2011 Act 10 law that hobbled the ability of public teacher's unions to negotiate benefits, working conditions and wages.

"Making a historic investment in K-12 education is great, but knowing with certainty those dollars will be invested in improving the quality of the classroom is priceless," Walker said.

U.S.: "Give me your tired, Your Wealthy huddled masses yearning to breathe free."

Corporations and the wealthy got their tax cut. The euphoria over the ballyhooed employee wage hikes and bonuses were unsettling because the news hid the eventual US revenue losses and wealth inequality. The most powerful just got more powerful.

The Rise of American Privilege: If you can afford health care you can get it. If you can afford rising college costs you can get it. If you can afford a visit to our state and national parks you can get it. If you can afford public-private infrastructure improvements you can get it. And now, if you can afford to immigrate to the US you can get that too.

Paul Ryan's Democratic challenger Randy Bryce managed to expose the immigration "test" pushed by Trump Republicans as the next privilege for the wealthy. Under the qualifications below, Trump's parents would not have gained entry. Only the wealthy can escape their countries. It's the wealth protection act. PolitiFact ... The test, offered by TIME:

How old are you?
Under 18 cannot apply
18-21 6 points
22-25 8 points
26-30 10 points
31-35 8 points
36-40 6 points
41-45 4 points
46-50 2 points
Over 50 0 points


What's your highest level of education?
Less than high school diploma 0 points
High school diploma or foreign equivalent 1 point
Foreign bachelor's 5 points
U.S. bachelor's 6 points
Foreign master's in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics 7 points
U.S. master’s in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics 8 points
Foreign professional degree or doctorate in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics 10 points
U.S. professional degree or doctorate in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics 13 points


What's your English ability?
Poor 0 points
Moderate 6 points
Good 10 points
Excellent 11 points
Fluent 12 points


Do you have a job offer?
No 0 points
Yes, with a salary less than $77,900 0 points
Yes, with a salary of at least $77,900 5 points
Yes, with a salary of at least $103,900 8 points
Yes, with a salary of at least $155,800 13 points
Do you have a Nobel Prize or major international award?
Yes 25 points
No 0 points


Have you won an Olympic medal in the past 8 years?
Yes 15 points
No 0 points


Do you plan on investing money in the U.S.?
No 0 points
Yes, with foreign currency worth less than $1.35 million for a new commercial enterprise 0 points
Yes, with foreign currency worth between $1.35 million and $1.8 million for a new commercial enterprise 6 points
Yes, with foreign currency worth at least $1.8 million for a new commercial enterprise 12 points.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Republicans to allow Businesses to hire based on your Politics, Non-Religion, Prior Wage History...etc!!!

Scott Walker's recent ad campaign asking out-of-state young people to move to Wisconsin for jobs is just one side of the story, and a deceptive one.

"Don't Live in Wisconsin" ads? It's time the "left" fought back. We should have some well-funded group running ads to counter the deceptive ones put out by Walker. Yes, an anti-Wisconsin ad, where minimum wages are forced, benefits laughed at, mass transit discouraged, and protected class status wiped completely out so employers can mistreat and take advantage of your situation. Basically, tell the truth about the market here, and see how their policies help or hurt their state's economy.

Insulting "Equal Employment Standardization Act" does the Opposite:" See this previous blog post. Digging deeper in Rep. Chris Kapenga's big government Republican plan to establish a one-size-fits-all labor standard, it looks like employers will have the opportunity to bring back the kind of coercive serfdom they've been craving for decades.

...prohibit local municipalities from establishing and enforcing their own employment discrimination laws.The protected classes that would be eliminated include gender identity, non-religion, homelessness, source of income, lack of a social security number, physical appearance, political beliefs, student status, domestic partners, citizenship, unemployment status and credit history.
"Political beliefs?" Wow, I didn't expect that one, but then again, it makes sense since Republicans only allow businesses in Wisconsin that fit their narrow corporate agenda. Nothing overtly fascistic here.

Here again is a video showing a stumbling bumbling Kapenga struggle to explain his earlier purely ideological bill in Feb. 2014 to Dane County Executive Joe Parisi.

  

Remember, Republicans recently repealed and then rewrote a regulation that now allows 16 and 17-year-olds to work without a parents permission, while they're still in school.
Eliminated restrictions on 16- and 17-year-olds working more than 26 hours during a school week and more than 50 hours a week during vacations ... but they will not be permitted to join a union without a signed parental consent.

Democrats maintain the bill would allow children to make important life decisions that could adversely affect their educations — against their parents’ wishes.
And remember this:
Seven-day workweeks (are now) allowed and provisions for a "living wage" (were) struck from state statutes.  
Note, this will also spread into Wisconsin someday, maybe tied in with work requirements for food stamps, BadgerCare, and unemployment:
"...in Georgia, thousands of unemployed people are working without a salary in “auditions” for paying gigs."
Getting back to the current bill...:
The city could not enforce employment discrimination in Madison. Between 70 and 80 percent of all cases the civil rights department receives are related to employment. By removing the city’s enforcement ability ... the state would need to absorb over 100 cases, which would likely take longer to investigate.
This is the GOP's plan to end American progress, terminating social and economic ideas that always start at the local level:
1. Create uniform regulations across the state for employment hours and benefits.

2. Give employers the right to ask for prospective employees’ salary histories.

3. Prohibit municipalities from setting a higher minimum wage than the state for contracted employees.

4. Set a statewide standard and prohibit local ordinances regarding wage claims.
  

Friday, January 12, 2018

Scott Walker: Unemployed are Worthless Human Beings, won't get Health Care without Work.

Why aren't the Democrats pummeling Scott Walker and Trump over their plan to make unemployed Americans work so they can get medical treatment under Medicaid? Media reports have never even brought up how absurd and cruel withholding health care is for any anyone including the unemployed.

What am I missing here? What part of the following upside down comment makes any sense?
Seema Verma, head of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (said), “Medicaid needs to be more flexible so that states can best address the needs of this population. Our fundamental goal is to make a positive and lasting difference in the health and wellness of our beneficiaries."
1. Health care is Not a Consumer Product, a Free Market Privilege: Republicans are absurdly saying you have to work for health care, which firmly establishes it in law as a reward for the deserving, and affirms it as a thing we can give or take away. Ever other industrialized country in the world believes that's just morally and ethically bankrupt, especially making a profit from the sick.

2. Opposite Day Everyday-a "Positive Difference in Wellness?" How can withholding treatment from someone not working, whose health took a bad turn, be a "positive goal" that "addresses the needs of this population?"

3. Not-so-Civilized Society: It means we've lost our humanity, and abandons once and for all our sense of responsibility to treat the sick.

4. Convoluted Big Government Bureaucratic Regulation: Imagine the paperwork, off and online application, uploading or mailing requirements, especially for those ill-equipped to deal with all or part of the complicated process. 

It's not about Saving Money, getting People Back to Work: As demonstrated by the Republican tax cut adding $2 trillion to the deficit, it's only about their cruel ideological agenda:
Critics say these moves will cost taxpayers more than they save, trigger costly lawsuits and fail to boost the state’s economy the way other investments might.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Big Government Republicans to wipe out Local control over Labor Standards, praising One-Size-Fits-All "consistency" and "stability."

Would you believe...so far, Republican voters believe, and they're willing to give up local control of their own communities for the ridiculous excuse that it offers "consistency" and "stability" to employee hours, benefits, wage and discrimination claims. What, you didn't know this was a big problem?
AP: A Republican bill would prevent local governments in Wisconsin from enacting a variety of ordinances pertaining to employment matters, including limits on working hours, overtime, benefits, and discrimination and wage claims ... the measure is needed to create statewide employment standards to provide consistency and stability both for employers and employees. 
Even though "Democrats and labor unions" oppose the one-size-fits-all attack on labor, this is really a slap at every working stiff in the state, and every employer trying to compete statewide and nationally.  

Republicans aren't hiding anything anymore; it's feel-good anti-worker conservativism, with the added benefit of killing off local control:
(Part of) a movement championed by Walker, who has built his reputation by effectively ending collective bargaining and enacting a right to work law. Since 2016, at least 15 states passed 28 such laws covering everything from barring higher local minimum wages to blocking more generous paid leave provisions, based on an August report from the Economic Policy Institute.
Walker's Ad Touting Work in Wisconsin...a Lie: Have you seen that Scott Walker ad campaign telling workers in other states how much different and better Wisconsin is? Nope, Wisconsin wants to be like every other low wage state. That's not all, Republicans think workers aren't too smart and are easily confused by the different local standards. And you won't believe the line of ideological word salad bullshit from the bill's lead sponsor State Sen. Chris Kapenga:
Kapenga said the restrictions were needed in the face of cities in other states enacting ordinances covering such things as wages, benefits and other issues that result in a patchwork of requirements creating confusion. Having a variety of different local requirements would make Wisconsin a less competitive and more costly state to do business, he said.

"We're talking about doing what's right for Wisconsin knowing what's happening around the country," Kapenga said.
Doing What's Right? Kapenga isn't the only self-righteous Republican:
Rep. Dale Kooyenga, R-Brookfield: “There are certain values that the state upholds. If the values aren’t consistent at the local level, there is an opportunity for the state to come in and say these are our principles and they are good."
Put another, better way...: 
Stephanie Bloomingdale, secretary-treasurer for the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO: "This bill is about power, the power to overreach and tell citizens in their own communities that they don't know what's best for them."
MUST SEE VIDEO: Check out this debate between Dane County Executive Joe Parisi and Chis Kapenga from Feb. 21, 2014, when Kapenga first came up with this statewide idea after the Milwaukee County Board brought up a living wage ordinance.  One guy is intellectually honest, the other struggles to make any sense. From WKOW:


Blatant Kapenga Conflict of Interest? Get this, Rep. Chris Kapenga is CEO of Integrated Time Systems, and originally wrote a similar law to protect his own company in Brookfield:
"My company is in Milwaukee and the second I saw the news story come out that there may be an ordinance put in place, I started working on this," said Rep. Kapenga, who owns a computer software business.
Here's what this amazing Republican bill does, supported by the usual list of big monied special interests, like Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce ... the conservative group Americans for Prosperity, and groups representing independent businesses, restaurants, the tourism industry, hotels and staffing services:
1. Prohibit local governments from setting higher wages in deals with contractors.

2. Prohibit labor peace agreements, which are deals in which employers agree not to resist a union's organizing attempts

3. Bar the enforcement of licensing regulations that are stricter than state's standard

4. Forbid the enactment or enforcement of employment discrimination standards.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Scott Walker's Paul Soglin Panic Attack!!!

Scott Walker's lack of ammunition against his Democratic opponents for governor is the real shocker.

As Madison Mayor Paul Soglin inched closer to making his announcement to run, Walker spewed an almost laughable and desperate tweet storm Jan. 4th (6 days ago Politifact):


And just today, Walker bashed Madison all the while promoting it: 



Soglin's successful management of Madison, it's incredibly low unemployment rate, the fact that it's always on the lists of best cities stand in stark contrast to Walker's reign as Milwaukee County Executive. He nearly bankrupted and broke up the county government. Here's what I wrote in a post from 2015...
______________________________________________________________________________________

...In 2009, when Walker decided to run for governor, he claimed the problems in Milwaukee were caused by "poor policies" from...guess who, Democratic Governor Jim Doyle. But now as governor, it can't be Walker's fault? Check out this video from Upfront with Mike Gousha, that also includes his push for "shrinking" wages. You read that right:
Walker: (On doing away with more state jobs) "Yes...we're going to have to look at shrinking the size of government, we're going to have to look at shrinking more importantly, the size of wages and benefits..."


Oh, it gets worse...:

Remember, this all happened under Walker's watch back in May, 2009. Even then nothing was ever his fault:
Mike Gousha: "There are going to be people who say look, Milwaukee county has the highest poverty rate in the state, we're losing jobs in the city of Milwaukee, your largest municipality at a rate almost unmatched by any other big city. Do you share any responsibility for that?"

Walker: "Everybody does, but the state of Wisconsin has done specific things, policy wise, that have effected jobs here...if you look at the tax increases of $1.2 billion of new taxes..."

Mike Gousha"Do you think you bare any of the responsibility for the numbers I just mentioned for the poverty rate, for the lack of employment right now in this community?"

Walker: "No, for us that's been an issue for years...politicians don't create jobs or eliminate jobs...!"
Walker never made the situation better in Milwaukee as governor. Walker as county executive actually agreed to dissolve the county, admitting that it was essentially bankrupt. From the Journal Sentinel's Dan Bice:
jsonline: Milwaukee County government is in such dire financial shape that state lawmakers should push through legislation that would allow it and other local governments to file for bankruptcy … the powerful Greater Milwaukee Committee is looking to recommend doing away with the elected county executive's post, slicing county worker benefits and spinning off the zoo, the bus system, the parks and much else under separate commissions.

(The Greater Milwaukee Committee tried to hide their report, saying) "We don't want this to become some sort of political football during the fall election campaigns ... If these dramatic steps - or something like them - aren't taken county government will collapse," the draft report suggests.
With Walker in charge....
The report also puts it this way: "If we don't make changes today … Parks will close, bus routes will end and families in distress will not get the help they need. Our Milwaukee will grow smaller and smaller as people and companies leave."
Here's one of my favorite cartoons that should have been taken more seriously:


Kinda liked these too...




Wisconsin Republicans want to eliminate all of Wisconsin’s state air pollution regulations! They really do!!!

Seriously, I nearly spit out my coffee this morning when I heard the WPR headline below...

Under the proposal, the state Department of Natural Resources would have the option to reintroduce those regulations.
Optional? What's the big deal? One of the Senates most backward and clueless Republican legislators ever, Sen. Duey Stroebel, said this in the most nonchalant way...
"All we're asking is that our scientists at the DNR just take a look at all the things that they regulate above and beyond the EPA, and make sure that it still makes sense," said Sen. Duey Stroebel, R-Saukville, one of the bill’s sponsors. "If it does, we'll regulate it. If it doesn't, based upon what the scientists say, we won't." Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce and the American Petroleum Institute support the bill.
So what's not to like? Yup, it'll be just that easy to reinstate a regulation if our anti-science Republican legislature and depleted DNR staff think we've made a balanced decision weighing the unfair cost to business against the remotely possible environmental benefits. What's the beef?

At least we'll always have the EPA standards as a backup...?

Republicans Roll Back Environmental Protections in Wisconsin at the same time EPA Rolling Back Everything Else: Just by coincidence, this coal industry story hit the fan:
EPA's Rick Perry and Murray Hug!
The Trump administration is rolling back regulations on coal-fired power plants.

A memo written by Robert E. Murray, a longtime Trump supporter who donated $300,000 to the president’s inauguration (and) the head of Murray Energy, presented Mr. Trump with a wish list of environmental rollbacks just weeks after the inauguration ... the White House has completed or are on track to fulfill most of the 14 detailed requests:
1. Ending regulations on greenhouse gas emissions and ozone and mine safety

2. Cutting the staff of the Environmental Protection Agency “at least in half.” 

3. Overhauling the Labor Department’s office of mine safety.
Here's a look at Murray's list to Trump:



Republicans are in Charge, but not Control (of themselves): None of this is new, as you can see at this link where Paul Ryan has been passing this kind of environmental trash out of the House for years. 

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Scott Walker's Rural Schools Bribe...and Tax Increase.

There's something very odd about Scott Walker's sudden change of heart about funding many of Wisconsin's troubled rural school districts. For instance, how easy would it be for Scott Walker to simply bribe rural voters with more school funding?

Walker Rescues Rural Public Schools from Himself: Afterall, it was Walker's policies in the first place that hurt rural schools. Now it requires Walker's phony act of heroics during an election year to save them? Prior to this, Walker had a national reputation:


Or this from 2012...

Analysis here!
And Walker still thinks you won't remember;


Walker's Rural Hail Mary: Scott Walker's desperate attempt to steal away a Democratic idea that was oddly supported by a majority of Republicans still doesn't change the fact that he vetoed the same idea in the last budget. Walker's new con pares down the chances that some districts can use it for years...:
The governor vetoed a provision of the state budget that would have allowed low-spending districts to raise property taxes without a referendum vote. The bill would allow revenue-limit increase if there hasn't been a failed referendum vote within the past three years.
Rep. John Nygren made it clear that those big spending responsible school districts who made education their top priority weren't "frugal," like all those other tightwad districts that didn't care or make the effort. Nygren tipped his hand-press release:
"Historically, these districts are frugal, low-spending districts who have been locked into spending limits for over 20 years ... these districts must play on an unlevel playing field, competing with higher spending districts."
Cry me a river. So now that Walker has put Wisconsin taxpayers on the hook for Foxconn, he's furiously trying to undo years of cuts. The following analysis got Walker's backhand as nothing but partisan whining...not so much anymore:
__________________________________________________________________________________
Wisconsin does poorly on all measures:
  • Wisconsin spent 11.9 percent less per student in the 2011 fiscal year than in the pre-recession 2008 fiscal year. That ranks eighth worst. South Carolina, Arizona, and California were the three worst.
  • Per-student spending for 2012 is $776 less than in pre-recession 2008, ranking us fourth worst.
  • Wisconsin cut per-student spending by 10 percent -- third worst -- from fiscal year 2011 to fiscal year 2012. Only Illinois and Texas are worse.
This isn't OK for kids because it translates into:
When we should be talking about the educational opportunities needed to succeed, we are instead locked into destructive and ineffective arguments about short-term budget fixes and divisive political battles that are hurting our kids, their schools, and their communities.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Scott Walker's localized version of Disaster-like Capitalism continues to payoff.

This is just a quick post about something I'm still trying to sort through... 

Writer Naomi Klien calls it "disaster capitalism," the free market exploitation of a disaster or problem. Trump and Scott Walker are relentlessly pushing this idea in big ways. Here's a past example under Bush:
Hurricane Katrina and other catastrophic events: The exploitation of crises for corporate gain, often under the guise of relief or reconstruction efforts. A list of "Pro-Free-Market Ideas for Responding to Hurricane Katrina and High Gas Prices," by Vice President Mike Pence; "make the entire affected area a flat tax free-enterprise zone," "give school-choice vouchers for displaced children," and "make the entire region an economic competitiveness zone (comprehensive tax incentives and waiving of regulations)."
Public Education Disaster? Scott Walker's use of disaster capitalism plays off his own major ideologically driven policy disasters, like education. Walker first drummed up support by making things worse with Act 10...vilifying teachers as union thugs who indoctrinate kids with their liberal agendas:
Walker cut $782 million from public schools.  
Even though Wisconsin is in the top 12 for overall state grades and 9th in K-12 Achievement, Republicans have convinced their voting base our public schools have been a failure. Walker purged the system of costly experienced teachers, introduced free-market bidding wars for instructors, ignored school funding reform, expanded voucher and charter schools, and forced school districts to pass funding referendums. Running again for governor, he's now increased spending on schools, after creating educational shortfalls:
...state aid is the highest ever in raw dollars, but adjusted for inflation remains below levels more than a decade ago. 
State Parks Funding Disaster: Walker did the same to our state parks, by first cutting taxpayer funding, and then coming to the rescue with free-market user fees that aren't keeping up with maintenance, pricing lower to middle income Wisconsinites out. And fees are going up. Trump is doing the same thing with our national parks with even bigger increases. Can you afford to see and enjoy your own country? Now that's freedom:
In the 10 months since Ryan Zinke took the reins at the U.S. Department of Interior, he has proposed more than doubling summer entrance fees at Yellowstone, Glacier and other popular national parks to $70 per carload. Lest the thrifty or those on a tight budget try to plan around such a price increase, under Zinke’s leadership, the National Park Service reduced the number of free park admission days to four for 2018 — down from 16 free days in 2016 and 10 in 2017.
Lincoln Hills Disaster: Walker decided to close the states budget deficit by consolidating the juvenile prison system, cutting 292 full-time jobs.
Then-Racine County Circuit Judge Richard Kreul sent a memo directly to Walker on Feb. 10, 2012, said he had been shocked when the state closed a separate youth facility, Ethan Allen School in Wales, in 2011 and instead sent all young offenders to a single institution, Lincoln Hills. "My experience with the administration at Wales was 100% better than my experience with the administration at Lincoln Hills," he said. 
We have yet to see how Walker will turn this into another money making opportunity. Still, what Walker is proposing is just another hail mary his legislature most likely won't approve of or have the money for. It's just an idea that may not panned out:

Walker unveiled an $80 million plan to turn Lincoln Hills School for Boys in northern Wisconsin into an adult facility and transfer the population at the embattled detention center to five regional teen prisons, three in southeastern Wisconsin, in 2019. But it will still take years — and political skill — to pass the legislation, acquire the land, build these new prisons and create programming for them that gets better results for inmates and the public. In the meantime, Walker will still face questions about past problems at Lincoln Hills — and potentially new ones that might develop in the meantime.

State Rep. Cindi Duchow has said Ethan Allen, the 140-acre former correctional facility, off Highway 83 just north of Wales, is so contaminated with asbestos, lead paint and mold that it is unsafe and cannot be economically repaired.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Wisconsin in top 10! For those Moving Out.

I couldn't pass up a chance to embed the following map showing population outbound and inbound states (according to United Van Lines):

It really was about a National Voter Photo ID!!!

Was Trump trying to justify a nationwide requirement for photo ID? Was that the point of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Election Integrity? Of course it was, and Kansas' Secretary of State and Vice-chairman Kris Kobach the best man to make it happen. Real "states rights" and "small government-like," right? 

But when Trump dissolved the committee, he and Kobach spewed completely different answers. Why did they lie, and what are they trying to hide?

It's NOT about Photo ID? Well, that's what Kris Kobach told NPR's Robert Siegel:
SIEGEL: Do you think that's entirely about stubbornness on the Democratic - on the left side of this? There are people who think that the right to vote is so vitally important that requiring somebody to have a state, you know, photo ID or something is compromising one of the most basic democratic right. They have a different point of view. You couldn't reach some kind of compromise with them about these things?

KOBACH: Well, the commission wasn't even opining on the subject of photo ID. So that wasn't even on the - that wasn't even a topic of discussion at any of the meetings.

SIEGEL: I think your critics felt it was all leading in that direction, and that you've characterized...

KOBACH: Well...

SIEGEL: ...What should be the outcome (unintelligible).

KOBACH: The critics were making a bizarre and frankly idiotic argument. They were claiming that by looking at the issue of voter fraud, that was going to cause state legislatures to pass laws that would, in their view, make voting more difficult. And in their view, that would include photo ID. Well, that's ridiculous.
Trump says it was about Photo ID!!! Now here's what Trump officially said twice, in two consecutive tweets, contradicting Kobach:


Again, the simple truth behind Republican efforts to put as many hurdles in front of voters as they possibly can, like union membership, food stamps and unemployment, is to suppress voter participation: Here's a quick summary:



Thursday, January 4, 2018

Walker and WMC backs increased Ozone Pollution, so Businesses can grow.

Ozone is bad for your health. There's a chance of premature deaths due to cancer and respiratory disease, Alzheimer's, the risk of certain birth defects, and low birth weights. But so what, say Republicans and Wisconsin Manufacturing and Commerce, who put more value on brick and mortar businesses. You and me, we won't be missed for long.

As Republicans erase all evidence Obama was ever president, there is still one EPA regulation that won't be tolerated:
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to put more Wisconsin counties under tighter emission limits for ozone pollution. Bill Davis, of the Madison-based John Muir Chapter of the Sierra Club, "We've been tracking ozone for a long time ... it actually has more significant health impacts than we had first thought."

The state's largest business group, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, contends the EPA plan would "imperil" manufacturing growth.
WMC is worried about imperiling manufacturing growth, and not imperiling human growth?
WMC's general counsel and director of environmental and energy policy, Lucas Vebber, released the following statement: 
"What we are seeing here is the failed regulatory agenda of the Obama-era EPA continuing to attack Wisconsin businesses. At a time when Wisconsin's air quality is the cleanest it has been in decades, EPA is seeking to hold Wisconsin residents and businesses accountable for polluters in other states and even other countries. Business growth in east and southeast Wisconsin will be greatly impacted by this decision. We need our federal representatives to step up and fight back against this Zombie Obama-EPA regulatory agenda and restore common sense to air permitting."
Zombie Obama-EPA Regulations fly in the face of "common sense?" Business growth? Attack on business? Again, what about us, we the people and our government, protecting us?
Ground-level ozonesulfur dioxidenitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide are especially harmful for senior citizens, children, and people with heart and lung conditions such as emphysemabronchitis, and asthma. It can inflame breathing passages, decrease the lungs' working capacity, cause shortness of breath, pain when inhaling deeply, wheezing, and coughing. It can cause eye and nose irritation and it dries out the protective membranes of the nose and throat and interferes with the body's ability to fight infection, increasing susceptibility to illness. Hospital admissions and respiratory deaths often increase during periods when ozone levels are high.
Any question who the current Republican "government" is protecting? Sure ain't the voters. 

To Save Reelection, Walker closes Lincoln Hills after ignoring Problem for Years. Plan Oddly Similar to Dems.

Scott Walker's closing of the Lincoln Hills School for Boys and Copper Lake School for Girls (finally turning it into a prison for adults), does not suddenly make the horror of the facility disappear from our memories or wipe away his total failure to act during non-election years.


According to the Wisconsin State Journal, Walker's been planning this for "about a year?" Wow, not one word to anyone about it, no leaks, but continued fumbling of the Lincoln Hills ball? What a secret. Oh, but only if he's reelected, and only if he can get funding for it in the next budget two years from now?
If Walker wins re-election, he plans to include in the next state budget at least $80 million for the construction of six new juvenile correctional facilities for up to three dozen inmates each. Lawmakers would need to approve the plan.
From October 30, 2017:


Democrats Have Plan...and still do, after many years!!! Here's their surprised reaction: