Sunday, April 20, 2014

Walker's Weak Reelection Campaign....

Republicans are very clear about how they're going to attack Democratic challengers in the midterms; blame the former governor. After 3 and half years, they still don't own the anemic results of their last two state budgets?

Unfortunately, Democrats just aren't listening. The response not only would basically dismantle the GOP's entire argument for reelection, but could win over voters.

The media still won't dispute Scott Walker's biggest lie.

Demand that Walker stop blaming the Great Recession and job losses on Doyle/Burke!!! Now or in the very first gubernatorial debate, demand, demand, demand Walker drop the false premise Doyle or Burke had anything to do with the states job losses or controlled the drop in revenues resulting from the Great Recession. Stop it now. Stop blaming everyone else and take responsibility. 

It's not their $1 billion surplus: What have they really done? That surplus is still less than all the cuts to education and budgeting statewide. Even worse, that surplus they like taking credit for came from the general U.S. economy turning around, and that includes Wisconsin's. And yet they're still saying Obama's stimulus and spending cuts were a failure. Amazing.

And with another projected budget deficit staring us in the face, something tells me the Walker tax cuts exceeded our ability to pay our bills. True to form, borrowing and tax cut spending is their idea of a solid economic foundation. How'd that go after the 2000 presidential election when we had projected budget surpluses?

Lousy job creation that goes hand in hand with being near last in business starts doesn't sound like we're headed in the right direction to me, but that's supply side for you.

Walker's Republicans continue to depend on legacy business interests and bygone business models. Again, not only did the Great Recession change business models, but the Affordable Care Act changed the health care model as well. Not noticing both events is a blind spot that will have dangerous consequences in the future. We'll being moving in forward, but in the wrong direction.

All he's got right now is a low unemployment number, but even that requires a behind numbers analysis.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

GOP presents "Slipping into the Abyss" agenda.

The conservative clip dump is here. I decided not to do whole stories on the following videos, because they truly do speak for themselves. Rancher Cliven Bundy forever.

This conservative talker shows us how he sees you and me in the future oligarchy:

The right wing attack on voting. It's still hard to believe anyone with a functioning brain would think any of this makes sense:

What is it with Republicans and all their Nazi comparisons. Or the Obama dictatorship:

Drone Hunting? A creation of our national gun crazy mentality. Idiocracy is here:

Louie Gohmert's incredible look at the separation of church and state:

Castration in D.C. by Joni Ernst:

States Compete for Workers with Higher Minimum Wages.

Uh oh, "stuck in his conservative ways" Scott Walker might be behind the curve again with his old fashioned "work hard for less" ethic. 

Bribing Out-of-State Business is so Old Fashioned: States are now competing for...employees. A real curve ball for conservative type’s still blowing smoke about the virtues of working for nothing and supposedly paying your dues. Sorry guys, thanks to you, this is the new world of disposable jobs.

WEAU: Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton (D) signed a new minimum wage law raising wages to at least $9.50 an hour by 2016. With Wisconsin’s minimum at $7.25, there's some concern people may choose to move or work in Minnesota for a higher wage.

For border counties like Pepin, there's some question whether people making wages below $9.50 would drive or move for a bigger paycheck, and what that would do to businesses in Wisconsin.

David Klein is the store manager at Countryside Co-op in Pepin said (it) could get more competitive when Minnesota raises its minimum wage over the next three years.

There's also some concern people would move out of the state for higher pay. Some say Wisconsin will have to follow suit in the near future but that could mean fewer jobs or higher prices.

“You're going to need to be competitive, so therefore, if they're going to offer $9 an hour, then you need to be competitive and seriously look at that or at least make it close,” Pepin County Board Supervisor Jim Kraft said.

Second Amendment Chaos!

How activist are the conservative Justices on the Supreme Court? Read the following and decide for yourself who makes a better case over the Second Amendment. Daily Kos:
The Washington Post has published an opinion piece from Justice John Paul Stevens in which he analyzes the history of the second amendment, and recent Supreme Court decisions to support his contention that the interpretation of the Second Amendment advanced by the NRA (and recently accepted by the courts) is contrary to the intent of the framers.   According to Stevens:
"For more than 200 years following the adoption of that amendment, federal judges uniformly understood that the right protected by that text was limited in two ways: First, it applied only to keeping and bearing arms for military purposes, and second, while it limited the power of the federal government, it did not impose any limit whatsoever on the power of states or local governments to regulate the ownership or use of firearms. Thus, in United States v. Miller, decided in 1939, the court unanimously held that Congress could prohibit the possession of a sawed-off shotgun because that sort of weapon had no reasonable relation to the preservation or efficiency of a “well regulated Militia.

When I joined the court in 1975, that holding was generally understood as limiting the scope of the Second Amendment to uses of arms that were related to military activities. During the years when Warren Burger was chief justice, from 1969 to 1986, no judge or justice expressed any doubt about the limited coverage of the amendment."
The article continues:
District of Columbia v. Heller (which found that individuals had an individual right to bear arms and keep a handgun to be used for self-defense) and McDonald v. Chicago (which found that Chicago could not prohibit citizens from owning handguns) were contrary to the historical intent and interpretation of the second amendment.

Five years after his retirement, during a 1991 appearance on “The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour,” Warren Burger himself remarked that the Second Amendment “has been the subject of one of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat the word ‘fraud,’ on the American public by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime.”

Stevens' solution ... proposed change to the second amendment would read as follows:“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms when serving in the Militia shall not be infringed.” The entire opinion piece is well worth the read.

ObamaCare forced a majority of Americans to see the horrors of our Insurance Based Health Care System.

The most uncovered fact about the Affordable Care Act was then sudden realization by most Americans of how screwed up our health care system was, once they had it explained to them with the opening of the exchanges.

No one in the media pointed out that those covered by their employer were also now learning the ins and outs of our dysfunctional health insurance “system.” After 20 years, I already knew about this stuff. Opposition and outrage grew when people suddenly became aware of the costs and power of insurers through the introduction of ObamaCare.

Unaffordable deductibles? Big surprise folks, that’s a major part of the GOP’s push for Health Savings Accounts. If you don’t like high deductibles, ask a Republican why they think you should have what they call “skin in the game,” besides whatever life threatening disease you’re fighting.

GOP Attack Permanent: The vilification of “ObamaCare” is now set in stone. Republicans have soured public opinion enough on the ACA that it's never going to change. Our insurance based system is by nature outrageous, unfair and complicated beyond words. From Bloomberg News:
Paul Krugman is puzzled: "Over the weekend I had dinner in NYC with some very smart, sophisticated people; yes, all of them liberals. And almost everyone in the group was under the impression that Obamacare is still going badly … [H]ere we have smart, pro-reform people living in a state where reform is going really well. And they don’t know it!"-Krugman

The main explanation (sorry to beat this drum again) is more basic: The law is designed to do poorly in polling, at least once Republicans put up a united front against it.
It's what the public doesn't see or will ever notice getting coverage:
(The public) might have noticed if they benefited from the closing of the Medicare doughnut hole or took advantage of free preventative-care doctor visits. Some might have post-college kids who were able to stay on their insurance.

For most of us, Obamacare isn't that visible, and the benefits often are the least visible part. Don’t expect it to get better; it’s going to be less and less likely that people will identify the benefits they are receiving with “Obamacare.” In five years, plenty of those in the exchanges won't realize that under the old system they would have had a pre-existing condition that would have barred them from being insured … they almost certainly won’t realize that their minor medical condition would have qualified.

Given all that, once Republican opposition guaranteed that the ACA would be controversial it was likely that it would poll badly, even if it worked well -- and even if it worked so well it couldn't be repealed … This isn't the result of media bias, or the administration’s failure to win the spin; and it’s not even a sign that the law isn't working as intended. It’s just the logical outcome of the way the law is set up.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Rep. Robin Vos' Tea Party challenger one issue Common Core opponent, likes Secession too.

Despite coming in at half the rate of the public school system scores, Republicans continue to push the expansion of vouchers statewide.

But when it comes to an untested but encouraging concept like Common Core, kill it now before it destroys our children.

That’s what we’re having to deal with from conservative hardliners who just won’t budge from any part of their ideological failings. Their belief system is infallible, like the Bible, which is also part of their platform.

With conspiracies about Europe’s Common Core attack on American education, and claims secession is possible and not unconstitutional, Assembly wise ass Rep. Robin Vos has a primary challenger. Racine Journal Times
Bryn Biemeck of Mount Pleasant says she will run as a Republican against Vos, R-Rochester, to “bring new ideas and a fresh outlook to the party.”
The new idea and fresh outlook? Kill Common Core. This secession supporting “state’s rights” teabilly is just another sign Wisconsin is becoming the new most southern state…

Her primary issue is the Common Core education standards and eliminating them in Wisconsin … She said her opposition to Common Core is part of her strong support of states’ rights, also mentioning a secession resolution … as something she supports. The resolution “supports legislation that upholds Wisconsin’s right, under extreme circumstances, to secede,” according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and Biemeck believes in “approaching states’ rights (with) that attitude. Ideally, Wisconsin should govern itself and should make its own decisions about its people.” 

Walker Republicans usher in new "Red Scare?"

The "Red Scare" is back, but in two different ways. 
1. Republicans fear commie "socialism" via ObamaCare, gay marriage, gun regulation
and the redistribution of wealth in a pay gap reduction. That won't do, and they want to take the country back.
It isn't RED yet?

2. Ironically the same GOP that continually resurrects forms of the "Red Scare," to basically beat back liberalism, also wants to turn Wisconsin..."Red." Looks like Dylan Ratigan was onto to something when he named it "Corporate Communism."
Researching images for this post, I ran across this very interesting book about other "Red Scares," that believe it or not, bear an amazing similarity to the tea party Republican campaign today. Here's a description of Landon Shorrs book, pictured here, from 2012:
The loyalty investigations triggered by the Red Scare of the 1940s and 1950s marginalized many talented women and men who had entered government service during the Great Depression seeking to promote social democracy as a means to economic reform. Their influence over New Deal policymaking and their alliances with progressive labor and consumer movements elicited a powerful reaction from conservatives, who accused them of being subversives. 

Author Landon Storrs draws on newly declassified records of the federal employee loyalty program--created in response to fears that Communists were infiltrating the U.S. government--to reveal how disloyalty charges were used to silence these New Dealers and discredit their policies. The loyalty program not only destroyed many promising careers, it prohibited discussion of social democratic policy ideas in government circles, narrowing the scope of political discourse to this day.
 What's old is seemingly new. Walker has already hinted that he will run for president if the Senate flips to Republican, which would give him ultimate power to do whatever he "thinks" is best for us. Remember Paul Ryan's comment?
Upfront's Mike Gousha asked Ryan about all the polls that directly contradicted Ryan's positions on the minimum wage, extending unemployment etc. Ryan just laughed. 
"It sounds simple...but if I believe this is counter productive for the very people we're trying to help...and will hurt them by doing this, but it's politically popular, what does that say about you as a moral person...leaders have to take positions that may not be popular sometimes if they think they're doing the right thing."

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Secessionists are traitors!!! And oh yea, it's not Constitutional either, tea party patriots.

"Efforts to secede are an effort to overthrow the constitution of the United States. And can frankly be called a traitorous activity."- Mordecai Lee, Prof. of Governmental Affairs, UW Milwaukee.

That's how the audio below, from WPR's Joy Cardin Show, starts off. Mordecai Lee is about as middle of the road as they get, so that's saying something. I've included a few good listener calls too in this edited piece, one challenging Lee on being called a traitor.

Ed Schultz also talked about Wisconsin Republican efforts to leave the secession door open, with The Progressive's Ruth Conniff:

Here are just a few images I found that I thought wiped away any doubt that only a few right wing outliers are to blame:

Really Voters, Walker's Broken Jobs Promise OK?

Hey, even thought Walker's jobs promise failed miserably, he was just "aiming high." Jaw dropping?

Online headline changed
When I saw the story pictured here, I wasn't surprised. Republicans like Scott Walker only have to say it doesn't matter to get every one to back off. From having affairs to actual corruption, if they tell the press and voters they're not going to talk about it...end of discussion.

After 5 years of Republican whining about Obama's unforgivable list of "broken" promises, you'd think this would be an uncomfortable situation for Walker. Nah, he's a dreamer...he tried.

And all Walker had to do was just allow the state to keep up with a normal recovery. But Walker made it worse:
Northwestern: The downturn was the most severe we'd had in 75 years. The debt hangover, of families owing more than what they were worth, was unprecedented. So the probability of meeting his target is virtually zero. Despite all the rhetoric, there's no clear evidence that any “growth policies” that state governments adopt have any real effect. But the rhetoric is exactly the point. Almost everything Walker has done as governor – the union busting, the tax breaks for the well connected – have been justified because “it will create jobs.” So yes, since that's the standard Walker has consistently raised, how well he's created jobs is a standard he should be held to. So should Walker be judged on his job creation record? Yes he should – as a total, utter failure.
From WKOW, Walker's actual galling statement:

Here's an interesting clip from his newest ad. The media let Walker's campaign use the biggest most outrageous lie go unquestioned, so what happened, they started the ad with the GOP's free market Wall Street failure...the Great Recession. Yes, they're using their own ideological failure to bash Democrats, and oddly, getting away with it:

The ad ends with Walker's dream result; dropped Badgercare coverage in exchange for high deductible ACA insurance, which in turn pulls more discretionary money out of the states economy and instills "pride." All is well again.

Welcome to the Oligarchy: Citizens have ZERO impact on Government Policy Changes!!!

An amazing bit of research just came out confirming our very uneasy suspicions that it doesn't matter what the public wants, it's what money wants in D.C..

Frightening stuff. This is a must see because it finally clarifies the disconnect between the people and their government. Below I've provide a few example from today headlines.

Chris Hayes and guests discuss the end of democracy:

So when you see stories like this, now you'll know it doesn't matter anymore (I'm not suggesting giving up):
TPM: Poll: 64% Of Americans Say Obamacare Should Remain Law: Bloomberg News found that a combined 64% of Americans said they support keeping the law in place. That includes 51% who said it should be kept but may need some small changes and 13% who said it should be left alone. Only 34% said it should be repealed.

NY Times: According to a Gallup poll last year, 71 percent of adults (91 percent of Democrats, 68 percent of independents and 50 percent of Republicans) said they would vote for a law that would raise the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour on Election Day if they could. But, as one would expect, Republicans in Congress are chafing.
The same can be said for gay marriage and background checks for gun purchases. We really don't count anymore. Here's more on the study from Common Dreams:
study, to appear in the Fall 2014 issue of the academic journal Perspectives on Politics, finds that the U.S. is no democracy, but instead an oligarchy, meaning profoundly corrupt, so that the answer to the study’s opening question:

"Despite the seemingly strong empirical support in previous studies for theories of majoritarian democracy, our analyses suggest that majorities of the American public actually have little influence over the policies our government adopts. Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance, such as regular elections, freedom of speech and association, and a widespread (if still contested) franchise. But, ..."
and then they go on to say, it's not true, and that,

"America's claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened" by the findings in this, the first-ever comprehensive scientific study of the subject, which shows that there is instead "the nearly total failure of 'median voter' and other Majoritarian Electoral Democracy theories [of America]. When the preferences of economic elites and the stands of organized interest groups are controlled for, the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy."
To put it short: The United States is no democracy, but actually an oligarchy. The authors of this historically important study are Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page, and their article is titled "Testing Theories of American Politics." 
“Economic Elite Domination theories do rather well in our analysis, even though our findings probably understate the political influence of elites. Our measure of the preferences of wealthy or elite Americans – though useful, and the best we could generate … using this imperfect measure … The real-world impact of elites upon public policy may be still greater.”
The clear finding is that the U.S. is an oligarchy, no democratic country, at all. American democracy is a sham … The U.S., in other words, is basically similar to Russia or most other dubious "electoral" "democratic" countries … “the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.” That's it, in a nutshell. 
One more thing:
 "Ordinary citizens might often be observed to 'win' (that is, to get their preferred policy outcomes) even if they had no independent effect whatsoever on policy making, if elites (with whom they often agree) actually prevail."
And since this is a trend going back to the 80’s, it oddly suggests our conservative activist Supreme Court Justices are actually the ones “progressing,” leading us into our oligarchic future.

Democrats take lead in Health Care policy.

While the news is good, Democrats are now left a lot of time before the midterms for the Republicans to bash the Affordable Care Act unmercifully. That's because no one can sign up again until later in the year, after the elections. If the numbers had been allowed to increase with new signups, with no limits the first year, the growing numbers would bolster public support.

As it is, the ACA will actually lose numbers (churn) due to many getting finding work, getting employer provided care. Here are the numbers:
Reuters: Americans increasingly think Democrats have a better plan for healthcare than Republicans, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll:
32% of respondents in the online survey said they prefer Democrats' plan, policy or approach to healthcare, compared to just 18 percent for Republicans.

In a February poll, just around 25% said Democrats had a better plan … increased to 31 percent in March and 32 percent in April.

Republicans' healthcare plans had the backing of 24% in the March survey, (sliding) 6 percentage points in April.
If the Republicans weren't their own worst enemy…I hate to think what would happen:
"Democrats have not managed to have a huge lead over Republicans so much as Republicans have managed to damage their own position and stay behind Democrats," said Ipsos pollster Chris Jackson. "That's because people don't view the Republican Party as standing for any particular healthcare system." 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Hey Suckers, Let's elect a Part time Governor we'll never see, who also broke his biggest campaign promise.

With small property tax cuts homeowners see disappear via school referendums, and major tax cuts to businesses that aren't creating jobs, Wisconsin voters are now being asked to reelect a governor who broke his biggest promise on jobs, is near last for business starts, and may not be around for part of his 2nd, 3rd and fourth years in office?

Who does Scott Walker think he's kidding? If Mary Burke doesn't sum it up this easily soon, we're in big trouble:
WKOW: Governor Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin) will not commit to fulfilling all four years of a second term if he is reelected in November. Just a day after kicking off his reelection campaign, Gov. Walker was dodging questions about how long a possible second term might last. 

"What I'm gonna stay focused on and committed to is telling the people of the state what I plan on doing in the next term.  I want to be Governor and that's the only thing I'm focused on right now,"  said Gov. Walker.
"I want to be governor"...he's got a plan...that's it. And he's still blaming Doyle/Burke for the job losses during the Great Recession. Will Burke finally shut that talking point down? Here's WKOW's Greg Neumann:

Burke responded....
Democratic candidate for governor Mary Burke responded to Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign kickoff by challenging his record as a jobs creator.
“Under Scott Walker, Wisconsin is falling behind. In job creation, we are 35th in the country and second to last among Midwestern states. Worse still, we are one of the worst in the country in new business starts,” Burke said. “Walker’s game plan has failed. Giving tax breaks to out of state corporations and those at the top is not how you create jobs. And it’s not how you grow the middle class.”

Walker's Voter Suppression Laws gets another look....

Slate's Dave Weigel has been doing a great job of covering tea party candidates around the country. This time around he included you know who, Scott Walker. 

His headline caught my attention right away:

Weigel wrote this: 
The 2012 election went incredibly smoothly in Wisconsin. Starting on Oct. 21, two weeks before the end of the election, voters could show up to early-voting sites and be done with their annual civic duty. Not registered? You could do that in person. Busy all week? Show up on Saturday or Sunday. The ease of the thing helped push Wisconsin turnout to 73.2 percent of eligible voters, up from 72.4 percent in 2008, the second-highest in the country. (Damn your eyes, Minnesota!)

This was clearly a problem, and it had to be fixed.
"Gov. Scott Walker has quietly signed into law a bill that limits in-person absentee voting to no later than 7 p.m. during the week and no weekend hours."