Friday, May 25, 2018

Trump "Brander and Chief," duping willing Deplorable's!!!

This will be a hard one for Trump "deplorable" voters to explain since Trump himself readily admits he's trying to dupe them.

60 Minutes' Leslie Stahl explains Trump's transparent to everyone else but his followers plan behind trashing the press...

Stahl (paraphrasing Trump comment): "I do it to discredit you all, to demean you all, so when you write negative stories about me no one will believe you."
Just this morning on Morning Joe, Eugene Robinson talked about his article about Trump's dark art of branding an informant a "spy:"

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Trump Tariff threats have shaken Farm Country!

It seems the bond between Trump Republicans and farmers isn't about to be broken anytime soon. And I can't figure out why.

I will admit Democrats have done little to help advance pro-rural community solutions. But the growing problems farmers are facing daily have little to do with a handful of nagging regulations industry lobbyist say will kill farming.

My gut feel is that these are deliberate distractions from actual solutions that farmers and rural businesses everywhere need now, along with faster broadband connections. WPR:

Farmers have seen uncontrollable factors like droughts and storms and commodity prices threaten their livelihoods. In recent months, President Trump's trade policies have added fears of a trade war with China, the loss of friendly trade agreements and instability around the farm bill to the list. The string of political shifts have shaken farm country. 

Matt Purdue of the National Farmers Union say the instability comes at a time when farmers are already in crisis ... when the U.S. Department of Agriculture is projecting net farm income could fall to a 12 year low. Those slipping prices have meant existing crop insurance programs, which guarantee farmers a minimum price for what they plant, aren't helping to keep farmers solvent.

Many of President Trump's farm state supporters in the Senate are starting to worry that the president's policies and the political fight in the House are taking their toll on farmers. "A lot of these folks are really concerned and it's gotten to the point where in some areas there's been suicide hotlines that have now been established for more than a year," said South Dakota Senator Mike Rounds. "They want the president to succeed, they want him to be strong but they want to know what his end game is. Are you going to provide us with protections in the farm bill so we know that if we are hurt by the negotiations with regard to tariffs with China, is there something that is going to be able to get us by."

Bob Worth, a soybean farmer in Minnesota, said the frustration is growing in rural America. "You know, rural America really did elect President Trump and as of today, we're not mad at him," Worth said. "He's done a lot of great things for us. He created some he's also created some hardship for us too."
Trump Has "Done a lot of Great Things" for Farmers? At the conservative website The Daily Signal, one rural contributor wallowed in "grateful" and "celebrated" servitude to leader Trump, the Obama slayer, praising the small things he's attacked like rescinding...
1. The “Waters of the United States” rule ... Thankfully, Trump signed an executive order to rescind the Waters of the United States rule. (Me: Ignoring science and water protection, House Speaker John Boehner used every GOP hotbutton imaginable- “The administration’s decree to unilaterally expand federal authority is a raw and tyrannical power grab that will crush jobs. [T]he rule is being shoved down the throats of hardworking people with no input, and places landowners, small businesses, farmers and manufacturers on the road to a regulatory and economic hell.”

2. The EPA under Obama banned a commonly used insecticide that had been approved by its own science advisory panel, chlorpyrifos. Thankfully, Trump’s EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt, lifted the ban as they continue to ensure that the product is safe for use as an insecticide. (ME: The graphic here says it all. If you're "pro-life," why aren't you trying to protect fetuses from this chemical? Because you're not.)

Or this feel-good challenge over a simple once a year general statement requiring no specialized equipment...
3. ... livestock farmers would be required to report emissions of greenhouse gases coming from livestock waste. Livestock farmers should be grateful for the support of the president ... (any facility emitting over 100 pounds per day of ammonia or hydrogen sulfide via animal waste (roughly 208 head) will be subject to CERCLA.)

This is another major win for agriculture and for rural America, and it deserves to be celebrated.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

In Walker's Corner?

The Walker Wisconsin Comeback Mirrors Kansas, not Minnesota's Success!!!

A report comparing Democratically run Minnesota and swirling Republican pit of Wisconsin is getting a lot of attention. The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) compared actual economic numbers based on policy pushed by both Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton and Wisconsin's Scott Walker.

Note: Walker continues to use the GOP's Great Recession against the Democrats like it was their fault, and oddly brags about an Obama economy Republicans criticized as "too slow." See if you can see a moment where Walker's trend line below did not mirror the national trend.

The irony, Walker posted the proof himself:

Minnesota Jobs Beat Wisconsin's: It's clear supply side/big corporate servitude does not serve the public or raise their incomes-provide health care-produce green energy and create jobs. Before we take a quick look at the differences, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the "gold standard" of job metrics, reported...WPR:
Minnesota Passes Wisconsin In Total Jobs ... 2017 Was The First Year In Recent History That Wisconsin Fell Behind Its Midwest Neighbor ... Minnesota nudged ahead of Wisconsin by 3,096 total jobs. Wisconsin still has almost 219,000 more residents than Minnesota, and just a decade ago, it had nearly 98,000 more jobs.
University of Michigan Labor Economist Donald Grimes said what stuck out to him was that Minnesota had added more jobs than Wisconsin every year since 2010. "The fact that it's every year is somewhat remarkable," Grimes said.

Minnesota smokes Walker's Participation Rate: Oh, and what about Walker's biggest bragging point, and a preoccupation of the far-right, the labor participation rate?
Minnesota's labor force participation rate — the percentage of the overall population that is part of the workforce — is 70.5 percent, which is slightly higher than Wisconsin's 68.9 percent.
Walker's war with Milwaukee Killing Jobs: You'd think the former executive of Milwaukee County would show a little more kindness. Also, you would have thought Milwaukee's close proximity to Chicago, creating a possible economic hub, would give it an advantage over lonely Minneapolis-St. Paul:
In addition, job growth in Minnesota's largest city far surpassed job growth in Wisconsin's. Hennepin County, Minnesota, home to Minneapolis-St. Paul, added 110,520 jobs from 2011 through 2017. By contrast, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin added just 17,680 over that same period.

"You need to focus on why Milwaukee is doing so much worse than Minneapolis-St. Paul and how you can be more like Minneapolis-St. Paul," Grimes said.
EPI's Minnesota vs Wisconsin report started this way...
Governor Walker and the Wisconsin state legislature have pursued a highly conservative agenda centered on cutting taxes, shrinking government, and weakening unions. In contrast, Minnesota under Governor Dayton has enacted a slate of progressive priorities: raising the minimum wage, strengthening safety net programs and labor standards, and boosting public investments in infrastructure and education, financed through higher taxes (largely on the wealthy) ... a compelling case study for assessing which agenda leads to better outcomes for working people and their families ... By virtually every available measure, Minnesota’s recovery has outperformed Wisconsin’s.
Urban Milwaukee summarized:
On every economic measure, Cooper found that Minnesota outperformed Wisconsin:
  • Job growth was markedly stronger in Minnesota than Wisconsin.11.0 percent growth in total nonfarm employment, compared with only 7.9 percent.
  • Wages grew faster in Minnesota than in Wisconsin at every decile in the wage distribution ... rising by 8.6 percent and 9.7 percent, respectively, in Minnesota vs. 6.3 percent and 6.4 percent in Wisconsin.
  • Gender wage gaps shrank more in Minnesota than in Wisconsin ... women’s median wage as a share of men’s median wage rose by 3.0 percentage points in Minnesota, and by 1.5 percentage points in Wisconsin.
  • Median household and family income grew more in Minnesota than in Wisconsin. Minnesota grew by 7.2 percent from 2010 to 2016. In Wisconsin, it grew by 5.1 percent.
  • Minnesota made greater progress than Wisconsin in reducing overall poverty, child poverty, and poverty as measured under the Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure. Wisconsin, at 11.8 percent was still roughly as high as the poverty rate in Minnesota at its peak in the wake of the Great Recession (11.9 percent, in 2011).
  • Minnesota residents were more likely to have health insurance than their counterparts in Wisconsin.
  • Minnesota has had stronger overall economic growth, stronger growth per worker, and stronger population growth than Wisconsin (12.8 percent vs. 10.1 percent), stronger growth per worker (3.4 percent vs. 2.7 percent), and stronger population growth (5.1 percent vs. 1.9 percent) than Wisconsin. In fact, over the whole period—as well as in the most recent year—more people have been moving out of Wisconsin to other states than have been moving in from elsewhere in the U.S. The same is not true of Minnesota.
 Now, tell me why Democrats are still having a hard time shaping a common easy to understand message? 

Targeting Poor and Unemployed for Drug Problem distracts from growing Employee Drug use Problem.

Here's something I'm still wrestling with. The unemployed and underemployed must now be tested, treated and drug-free, to receive food stamps (eventually BadgerCare). The excuse? Employers are unhappy with unreliable drugged out applicants. So businesses talked their compliant Republicans political servants into making taxpayers pay for drug testing, so they don't have to; WPR:
With low unemployment, some companies are finding it difficult to find suitable workers. And finding ones who are drug-free can add an extra challenge ... some companies have half their new hires fail a drug test and some companies are considering whether to continue screening.
So one group must be utterly clean, while the other group is becoming more addicted and costing businesses too much to continue drug testing? The poor are being stigmatized while drug-using employees are becoming a bigger and bigger problem?
New data analyzing employee drug test results have been released ... Data shows that between 2016 and 2017 the nation has seen major increases in positive test results for cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana ... positive test results for meth went up 167 percent in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio ... 4.2 percent of workers tested were drug positive in 2017. In Wisconsin it was 4.8 percent.
Employers are actually afraid to drug test their employees because replacing them would be difficult:
"Every client meeting we go to we have companies that aren’t CDL (commercial drivers license) so they aren’t technically required to test, questioning if they should because they can’t get good (job candidates) to pass the drug screen."
Legalized Marijuana a big drug testing problem companies are suddenly confronting:
Samantha Devore, who oversees drug testing at Bellin Health for trucking firms, said, "We have companies ask us flat out 'Is there a test that doesn’t include marijuana?' The U.S. DOT will never allow illegal substances to be accepted in their drug panel and in most states it is still an illegal drug."
No surprise, Democrats are also on top of this problem:
Recently a bill was introduced by Rep. David Bowen, D-Milwaukee, that would ban marijuana testing for most jobs.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

How 18-34 year old's will vote - NBC-GenForward Survey from March

Surveys come and go and they're constantly changing, becoming instantly irrelevant after a few Trumpian days of continued insanity. That said, I thought this was interesting enough to take note of...
The first of its kind bi-monthly survey of racially and ethnically diverse young adults GenForward is a survey associated with the University of Chicago Interviews: 02/23 - 03/10/2018 Total N: 1,895 adults Age Range: 18-34.

And for the upcoming midterms? 

Trump thinks London "a knife-armed war zone"?

After the mass shooting at Sante Fe High school, Republicans were quick to roll out their usual "don't bother us now" reasons why people will keep getting killed needlessly by guns; it's a cultural thing. Change that and human nature in the next century, and we'll all be safer.

Wait, remember how concealed carry will deter the bad guys because they won't know who had a gun? Oh yeh, that didn't work.

One Democratic politician bottom lined it when he said mass shooters are only being encouraged, knowing Republicans will never make it harder for them to succeed.

Guns are like Knives? And then there's that ridiculous comparison. Thank god Trump, our 70-year old man-child president, continues to showcase America's gun lunacy in front of the entire astonished world with embarrassing statements like this: 
Trump managed to stoke outrage and anger in both London and Paris this weekend ... addressing the National Rifle Association convention in Dallas the president cited the rising number of knife attacks in Britain while speaking in support of gun rights in the United States ... about halfway through his 50-minute speech
“I recently read a story that in London, which has unbelievably tough gun laws, a once very prestigious hospital — right in the middle — is like a war zone for horrible stabbing wounds. Yes, that’s right, they don’t have guns. They have knives, and instead there’s blood all over the floors of this hospital. They say it’s as bad as a military war zone hospital.”

“Knives, knives, knives,” Trump added as he made a stabbing motion.

“London hasn’t been used to that. They’re getting used to it. Pretty tough. The one thing that has always stood between the American people and the elimination of our Second Amendment rights has been conservatives in Congress willing to fight for those rights. We’re fighting.”
Of course, the truth made Trump look like the silly orange clown that he is: 
Trump's comments immediately drew a backlash from Londoners on social media. Charlie Falconer, a lawyer and representative of the left-wing Labour Party in the House of Lords, favorably compared Britain's murder rate to the U.S. rate and added: “Trump lies on everything.”

Monday, May 21, 2018

Wisconsin Dairy Farmers abandoned by our every Republican; Sensenbrenner, Duffy, Grothman, and Gallagher!!!

Remember this jerkwad Republican fiasco...

Republican Lobbyist wants to ditch "America's Dairyland" on our License Plate, a tradition since 1940 : Rural conservative farmers, are you getting it finally that your party has ditched you for Foxconn?

We've been America's Dairyland — at least on license plates — for 77 years. Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce President Kurt Bauer told a group Monday that it might be time to rethink the dairy-flavored license plate slogan. Bauer says that other slogans like 'Forward' might be more appropriate to modernize perceptions of the state's economy, rather than just focusing on agriculture.
Dairy Farm Labor Shortage Ignored by House Republicans Ryan, Sensenbrenner, Duffy, and Gallegher: Paul Ryan won't bring up the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, so many frustrated Republicans are trying to force a vote. Here are the GOP states on board:

Oh, did you notice every one of our dairy state Republicans in Wisconsin did nothing? Rural dairy farm voters, take note, they're not fighting for you.

Rogues Gallery
Michigan is seriously trying to help dairy farmers in stay in business:
Republican Rep. Fred Upton, for instance, represents a farm-heavy district in southwest Michigan where apple growers, asparagus harvesters and dairy farmers all rely on immigrant labor. Trips around the district routinely mean talking to farmers who fret over the potential loss of their workforce and constituents who are living in legal limbo.

Just this month, Upton said, he met a father of two who is married to an American and rides a bike to work because he doesn’t have a driver’s license. “He’s scared to death he is going to be picked up for whatever and sent someplace else, and it is frightening,” Upton said. “You sit down with these folks, and, I mean, people cry.”
Or New York Republican Chris Collins...
Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) stands apart from the other signers in many ways: He occupies a safe Republican seat and was among Trump’s earliest supporters in Congress. But his western New York district is home to hundreds of dairy farms that rely on immigrant labor.

“Right now, my dairy farmers are saying to Republicans: You’ve got the House, the Senate, the White House, and you’ve got to give us a legal workforce, and I agree with that,” he said. Collins, who favors a conservative immigration bill that would set up an agricultural guest worker program, acknowledged that the House may never be able to pass a bill. 
No effort at all by America's Dairyland representatives!!! They can't even muster up the effort to make it appear they're interested like Rep. Collins suggested:
“But then those of us can go home and say we did our best,” he added. “I fought for you and I’m willing to go against leadership to fight for you, and that’s all you can expect out of me.
And this is happening at a bad time...

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Trump unleashes the real Republican agenda!

Wow, I would not have thought any of the following examples of extremism was possible, but I was wrong.

And oh yeh, they want our unconditional love and respect?

1. Not the Right Time, don't Politicize Mass Shootings? It's a common refrain you hear Republican say all the time, but where are the critics now, and why didn't this get any real coverage. This speaks volumes about the conservative mindset on guns:
CNN is reporting as many as eight people have been murdered at Sante Fe High School in Texas ... With students still being screened on the lawn of the high school, with eight of their peers and/or teachers deceased, at least one Trump supporter decided this was the time to put on his MAGA hat, grab his American flag, strap his open-carry pistol to his hip and head on down to the high school.

As Republicans push armed security and teachers as a diversion from actual gun regulation, the school board said the security policy and procedures at Sante Fe High School worked?:
“They believed they were a hardened target, part of what’s expected today of the American public high school in an age when school shootings occur with alarming frequency,” The Post writes.

The Post quoted the school board president as saying that the system worked, as only 10 were killed by a shooter using a shotgun and pistol he took from his father.

“My first indication is that our policies and procedures worked,” Rusty Norman told the paper. “Having said that, the way things are, if someone wants to get into a school to create havoc, they can do it.”
2. Just One Bozo on this Deportation Bus: The Trumpian age of Republican politics is upon us, as they redefine far-right. Conversely, this just makes moderates look like 98 lb liberal weaklings. With major declines in the labor market and with record low birth rates, the war on immigrant labor is another devastating economic misstep that will affect the U.S. for decades to come:

Daily Beast: Republican Michael Williams, a Georgia state senator and a long-time Trump supporter
running for governor of Georgia is bringing his racist “Deportation Bus Tour” to Cracker Barrel restaurants—and Cracker Barrel isn't having it. , is currently polling dead last in the state’s Republican primary ... Williams “Deportation Bus” (is) plastered with slogans like “FILL THIS BUS WITH ILLEGALS” and “DANGER! MURDERERS, RAPISTS, KIDNAPPERS, CHILD MOLESTORS [sic], AND OTHER CRIMINALS ON BOARD.” Williams said his bus tour was prevented from leaving Decatur and going to Athens by violent "Antifa and radical liberals" who blocked the bus from leaving.
3. GOP Gov. Candidate "suggests" Euthanasia as Solution to costly Disabled, Poor and Elderly: And I'm just scratching the surface here. Most notably, the candidate's site stands behind reported comments, whether real or supposedly "hacked;"
Oklahoma GOP governor candidate Christopher Barnett blames hackers for Facebook post proposing euthanasia for disabled people ... the administrator initially posted a poll about food stamp requirements — and then made comments claiming euthanasia is a solution to the “issue” of the poor and disabled. A user commented on the poll post. “Most receiving food stamps work, or are disabled.  Some are elderly.”

“The ones who are disabled and can’t work…why are we required to keep them?” the Chrisforgov account responded. “Sorry but euthanasia is cheaper and doesn’t make everyone a slave to the Government [sic].”

Defending his now-deleted comments, the account admin mused as to why American taxpayers should “have to keep up people who cannot contribute to society any longer? If they can take care of themselves without Government assistance, great,” the comment continued. “If not, let them starve and die. Easy as that.”

Though the comments have since been deleted, the account admin wrote that they “stand by” the remarks in the poll thread, and later that day wrote that the interaction had been “fun.”
Appealing to the base, Barnett then used the GOP tactic of "death threats" to jack up his far-right creds. Of course, he's unintimidated...oh, isn't that the title of Republican Gov. Scott Walker's book:
“There are people saying they want to shoot me, they are going to assassinate me, they are going to shoot me, they are going to blow us up,” Barnett claimed. “I’m in this election. I’m not dropping out. They’re not going to intimidate me.”

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Wisconsin Republicans embrace Walker's kind of "optimistic vision for the future?"

Scott Walker decided to present his "optimistic vision" of the state with a few recent tweets trashing policy criticisms on the "anger and hate" filled "liberal Far left:"

So let's take a look at the what Walker calls an "optimistic vision for the future," along with a few other examples that are anything but.

Vukmir's "Positively" Blatant Lies: When you can't find much in Sen. Tammy Baldwin's hate-and-anger filled record to criticize, State Sen. Leah Vukmir came up with this positive whopper:

...or this positive swing and a miss...

...or "outsider" and challenger Kevin Nicholson's positive view of Democratic veterans...:
The Democrat Party has wholesale rejected the Constitution and the values that it was founded upon. So I'll tell you what: Those veterans that are out there in the Democrat party, I question their, their cognitive thought process. Because the bottom line is, they're signing up to defend the Constitution that their party is continually dragging through the mud."
...or Wisconsin's own retiring Paul Ryan, whose vision of the future does not include tackling the problem of mass shootings in our schools:

Dumb Ron Johnson's Positive Vision of the Future sees "families, renewed faith" as the solution to mass shootings in schools: Hey, it might take awhile - a half-century or so - but cultural norms might "likely" change?

(On) gun control, in the wake of the high school shooting in Texas that left 10 dead and 10 injured ... Johnson said federal legislation is not the answer, because gun violence is a bigger cultural issue.

"Solutions that will have some impact are going to more likely come from families, renewed faith, communities, from states than anything the federal government's going to pass."

Friday, May 18, 2018

The (R) doesn't stand for Respect!!!

As much as I have tried to interpret my Trumpian conservative friend in Milwaukee's "all-over-the-map" conversations, I've mistakenly filtered my analysis through the lens of friendship and respect, giving him the benefit of the doubt. Big mistake.

No Respect? GOP says it's No Longer Something You Earn:  Rodney Dangerfield said it best...:

If only they cast off their snooty liberal elitism and show respect to people who voted for Donald Trump, Democrats can win them over and take back Congress and the White House. There’s almost nothing more foolish Democrats could do than follow that advice.

Kurt Schlicter, a columnist for the conservative, recently wrote "We want to be treated with respect and we will not tolerate anything less which is just unacceptable for this to continue. I'm tired of Hollywood spitting on us. I am tired of academia spitting on us. I'm tired of the news media spitting on us." 
It's a Disrespected Scott Walker Scheme Too: Like Trump, Walker's been weeping the "no respect" game for years. 

Talk about Respect...: The CapTimes' Paul Fanlund wrote this about the Trump voters hypocrisy about respect:
"That’s rich. I can’t help but note, after years of Republicans infamously claiming their primary goal was to prevent Obama from being re-elected."
The Washington Post article explains it this way...
It doesn’t come from the things Democratic politicians say. Where does it come from? An entire industry that’s devoted to convincing white people that liberal elitists look down on them. The right has a gigantic media apparatus that is devoted to convincing people that liberals disrespect them, plus a political party whose leaders all understand that that idea is key to their political project and so join in the chorus at every opportunity.

You’ll find that, again and again, you’re told stories of some excess of campus political correctness, some obscure liberal professor who said something offensive, some liberal celebrity who said something crude about rednecks or some Democratic politician who displayed a lack of knowledge of a conservative cultural marker. The message is pounded home over and over: They hate you and everything you stand for.

“I despise Barack Obama. I think primarily because I don’t think he thinks very much of people like me,” one Republican told The Post’s Dan Balz.

Put another way...
In the world Republicans have constructed, a Democrat who wants to give you health care and a higher wage is disrespectful, while a Republican who opposes those things but engages in a vigorous round of campaign race-baiting is respectful. The person who’s holding you back isn’t the politician who just voted to give a trillion-dollar tax break to the wealthy and corporations, it’s an East Coast college professor who said something condescending on Twitter.

Democrats bend over backward to show conservative white voters respect, only to see some remark taken out of context and their entire agenda characterized as stealing from hard-working white people to give undeserved benefits to shiftless minorities. And then pundits demand, “Why aren’t you showing those whites more respect?” Democrats are supposed to abandon their values and change their policies, despite the fact that many of those policies provide enormous help to the very people who say Democrats look down on them ... How many times have we seen Democrats try to show respect by going to a NASCAR event or on a hunting trip, only to be mocked for their insincerity?
That's not all either:
A recent 15,000-word opus by the Post’s Dan Balz ... central finding is reflected in its headlines: “Loyalty, unease in Trump’s Midwest. Voters gave Trump a chance. Some remain all in. Others have grown weary of the chaos.” Balz describes down-on-their-luck, small-town and rural residents who feel disrespected by educated urbanites, especially coastal elites. But what exceeds that resentment is a quiet desperation as their local economies have receded or collapsed.
This comment should blow your mind...
Wearing a John Deere hoodie ... Kurt Glazier is a state worker, a union member and serves as chairman of the Republican Party in Whiteside County. He also sits on the county board. “I think Trump brought out the fact that — I mean, as crude and callous as he was at times — so many people had been almost discriminated against because they were Republicans and not Democrats, that we felt inferior.” will this...
Republican Party chairman in Clinton County Dan Smicker recalled that many of those he encountered were mad, fed up with the state of things. “This is my observation, it is not necessarily my belief  … Number one, they said minority political people have been well taken care of. Small business and working people have been identified as the source of income to take care of those people.”
...there's more...
Republican Party chairman in Clinton County Dan Smicker recalled that many of those he encountered were mad, fed up with the state of things. “This is my observation, it is not necessarily my belief  … Number one, they said minority political people have been well taken care of. Small business and working people have been identified as the source of income to take care of those people.”
We No Longer Expect a Happier Better Life: Finally, the following story pretty much reflects what I see every day in my current job, and simply put, it scares me. Americans have accepted a lower expectation of life, of their country, their politicians, and are now settling for less:
Marsha Story, in charge of decorating cakes, described the life of a single mother struggling on $11 an hour. “We don’t have cable,” she said, explaining how she juggled her finances. “We don’t have the Internet.” She said she declined to go on Medicaid, although she was eligible to use it. “I’ve always paid my own way,” she said.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

The Walker Years: Ignoring Facts for Political Spin.

Like a slum landlord, Scott Walker is an absentee manager of our state, letting transportation infrastructure crumble. The same can be said for everything else we stopped spending money on; K12, the UW, state parks, the environment, disappearing dairy farmers, mass transit, rural broadband...and Walker wants another term? 

Walker governs to fulfill a certain ideological end, putting no effort into trying to solve the states real-world problems. How else can you explain why other Republican states have dramatically raised their gas taxes to meet their growing infrastructure needs but Walker's Foxconnsin hasn't?

But it's not just me saying this:
 Mark Gottlieb, 61, resigned as DOT secretary in December 2016 after a six-year tenure … He is frustrated by what he says is a disingenuous portrayal of the facts on transportation and troubled that the state is neglecting crucial road improvements. Walker wrote in the June 2016 letter. “Proposed spending on mega projects in Southeastern Wisconsin should be minimized.” Prescribing a specific cabinet agency’s budget request is atypical, Gottlieb and others familiar with the process say. “We got to a place where the facts were being ignored in favor of political spin,” Gottlieb said.
As Walker explained, and his spokespeople continue to reinforce, that...:
"Gov. Walker (said) he will never support a revenue increase for roads without an equal or greater decrease in taxes elsewhere.
It's taken years, but Cap Times reporter Katelyn Ferrel finally pointed out the obvious:

The tax cuts Walker has championed, including eliminating the state's portion of the property tax, the child tax rebate and sales tax holiday, have not triggered an increase in transportation spending.

Former Transportation Sec.Gottlieb said, “Don't they claim to have cut taxes by billions of dollars? Taxes have been cut but there has been no corresponding increase in transportation revenue.”
Walker's Charge Card "Spending" on Roads: Walker is once again setting Democrats up as "tax and spenders;" making them pay for road rebuilding through tax increases when they finally take back the reigns of government: 
Former Department of Administration official George Mitchell, also a school choice advocate and has donated more than $15,000 to Walker, said, “Whether it’s under Gov. Walker or under a different governor, the problem they faced last time is going to be there and worse. The state is now in a big fix because of the failure of a Republican-controlled government to honestly confront the problem and deal with it, and that goes to the executive branch in the east wing.”
Walker knows infrastructure is a Democratic Party priority. He also knows voters hate tax increases. It's a tactical thing, and conservative voters love it. So Democratic spending will get future Republicans elected:
...Walker fully repaid the $1.4 billion Gov. Jim Doyle transferred from the state transportation fund ... much of that through borrowing, according to figures from the LFB.

...Walker “has budgeted $3 billion more in actual dollars into transportation than his predecessor. Local road aids are the highest ever.” Much of Walker’s “actual” dollars were borrowed dollars, according to LFB figures. And although local road aids have increased, they have come at the expense of total state highway spending, which, according to LFB figures, is the lowest it has been in 10 years. Total highway funding has been on a steady decline during Walker’s tenure, from $3.11 billion in the 2013-15 budget to $2.79 billion in 2015-17 to $2.54 billion in 2017-19, according LFB reports. Money allocated for the highway improvement program is down 8.8 percent from the last two-year budget, according to the LFB.
Walker, like Trump, filling Departments with Cronies: Would private corporations hire unqualified people to manage their business? But Walker would:
In 2016, Walker replaced Gottlieb and his deputies with Ross and two deputies from the Public Service Commission. Gottlieb shook his head at the move. “Of these three people, they had a combined total of zero days experience in transportation. It is very a complex agency and to install a set of top leaders who have no experience in that industry I think was a mistake.”
From Walker's "what  you don't know won't hurt you" Department:
The agency has not updated a key spending report, “Transportation Budget Trends,” from its last two budgets. The reports have been produced for decades. Without them, “it’s essentially impossible now to do what used to be easy to track historical and current trends in terms of revenue and expenditure by category,” Mitchell said. The (next) report will be released in July.
HEAD EXPLODING BULLSHIT: One more thing that really pisses me off; Republicans love giving back surplus revenue tax dollars, but then complain we don't have enough revenue to fund programs. Arrrrrrrrr!!!!
Walker, speaking at the Republican Party state convention Saturday, did not emphasize transportation as a key part of his re-election platform ... directing state agencies to prepare spending plans for 2019-21 with no increases in revenue... 
The move is in contrast to what Republican legislative leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, have said: the state needs to raise more money to adequately address roads.
Some extra charts from 2013 about public spending, that has only increased since then...not in transportation:

Check out Jakes Wisconsin Funhouse for even more HERE.

Monday, May 14, 2018

The Tangled Web of Conservative Thinking...

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Craig Gilbert continues traveling around the state asking you and me how we really feel about politics.

I found these conservative comments revealing. First, that "you hate Trump" come back when you're just trying to offer a little political criticism of the government:
1. Mike Breininger of the Richland Center Fellowship, a conservative pastor … his contempt for an “established media” … he views as “corrupt and incapable of benefiting the American people. It’s the dishonesty. I don’t mind if they slant it, just be honest about it. Don’t pretend like you’re putting out the truth here. Just say, ‘This is my opinion. I hate Trump. I’m writing an article based on hating Trump, so here it is.’ I can take that! But to say, ‘I’m just a journalist reporting the way things are and Donald Trump is a slimy, no-good, lying dog who deserves to be impeached’ — oh, that sounds pretty impartial and journalistic to me,” he said sarcastically.

2. One local GOP official, who was not a big Trump fan, complained to me that network news is an “I-hate-Trump Fest for 30 minutes.” When I asked Tom Harder of Grafton what changes he’d like to see in the political culture, he replied, “Changes in you guys.”
This is one of my favorites because it asks that reporters stay in the middle when presenting absolute nonsense with the absolute there's a middle ground or something? 
3. Ryan Perrault of Milwaukee. “I feel in order to get an educated opinion you’ve got to listen to both sides … and then from there you formulate your own idea,” said Perrault. “If you listen to Tucker Carlson on Fox News, it’s like Trump’s the best guy ever, and then if you turn on CNN, it’s the very opposite end of the spectrum. … How do you get a media source that’s right down the middle, because nobody’s going to want to fund them.”
This next statement hit home and was an epiphanic moment for me. I've been complaining for years how mindboggling and unfair it was to pair an impartial reporter with a stark raving rightwing bomb thrower. Like the disadvantaged reporter could respond with a likewise line of total BS? Gilbert does a wonderful job of describing it. This is how Republicans set up the premise "liberals" and "the media" were one and the same:
The unintended consequences of always pairing right-wing pundits with reporters had the effect of making all reporters “liberal.”

Retiree Jerry Ruud took one look at me at his door and said, “You used to be on Charlie Sykes.” “You’re a liberal,” he said disapprovingly.

“I’m a reporter,” I said. On the Sykes show, I was often the only panelist who wasn’t a conservative commentator or Republican politician.

To Ruud, I was "the other side," as he put it.

U.S. 4th Graders take 6th place in International Reading!!!

Public education was never on its last leg, that's just what privateers wanted you to think. Oh, and there's that guilt trip about being a good parent, that instinctively know whats best for their kids in school. No educator is going to con you into Common Core.

So after conservative states and school districts renamed Common Core - but kept the basic standards in place - public education kept getting better, thanks to our underappreciated dedicated teachers that still don't get paid what they're worth. It's the "e-Progress in International Reading Literacy Study:"  
EdWeek: U.S. 4th Graders Surprise on New Exam of Online Reading ... International results leave some 'elated'

U.S. 4th graders performed surprisingly well on a new international test of online reading ability, outperforming their peers in 10 of the 15 other educational systems that participated.

"We were actually elated," said Peggy G. Carr, the associate commissioner for assessment at the National Center for Education Statistics, during a discussion of the results at the annual conference of the American Educational Research Association, held here this month. "I think it's very clear that our students are more savvy than many of us have given them credit for," Carr said.

Walker's election year school funding makes years of district begging magically all right?

While public radio promotes Scott Walker's blue wave panic like it's the worst thing that could happen, Walker came right out and explained just how he's been duping his base on the issue of taxes. And I'll bet his voting base didn't even notice.

As Milwaukee County executive, Walker avoided raising taxes and taking the blame, by making the County Board raise those taxes by overriding his draconian budget vetos.

Again, Walker is committing to the same scheme with school funding. Sure he's cut taxes, just like he said on Upfront with Mike Gousha, but school funding isn't the responsibility of the state? Walker relishes the idea that local governments have to pass referendums to raise taxes because that takes Walker off the hook again. Wake up conservatives.

In the clip, he almost enjoys sticking it to the locals, when he says "it's theirs." Walker also pretends "all the money" he suddenly started spending in an election year is more than enough, and will make up for years of cuts, teacher shortages, lower standard for hiring, crumbling schools, bus transportation...etc. Nope:

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Anger and Hate Parade...

Walker's idea of "Anger and Hate"? "Being called and Idiot, being called a Moron, and "being Upset about Things"?

Scott Walker enjoys playing "opposite day" every day, not just on January 25th. Walker's campaign is faking the high road approach, cranking out anger and hate like there's no tomorrow. Upfront with Mike Gousha:

Like most authoritarians, Walker can't even take simple inoffensive criticism, like  "being an idiot" and "being a moron." To Walker, that's anger and hate. And worst of all, "being upset about things"? He's above criticism?

Was Walker directing his anger or hatred toward Democratic candidate Mayor Paul Soglin, which wasn't even true?

The "far-left" should be nice and put out positive messages like this one from Republican Leah Vukmir on terrorist Democrat Sen. Tammy Baldwin:

Walker again ignores Legalized Marijuana Job Creation and Economic Boost!!!

No this wasn't a scene out of Dragnet '67. This was Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in the 21st-century spouting Sgt. Joe Friday commentary that has long since been disproved. Legalization in other states has proved otherwise. Upfront with Mike Gousha:

Here's Joe Friday's amazing and now classic rant. Note: I've watched many of those old shows and oddly, Dragnet offered up counter-arguments that turned out to be right. Anyway, isn't alcohol the real gateway drug?:

Just like hemp, Walker is again behind the curve. It wasn't long ago when the Republican legislature killed any attempt to allow hemp production, even as clothing and grocery store shelves filled up with hemp derived fashion and food products:
February 23, 2010 – Steps to legalize industrial hemp in Wisconsin are facing Republican oppositionAll Republicans on the Assembly Agriculture Committee recently voted against a measure passed by the Democratic majority, which would allow Wisconsin farmers to apply for permits to grow hemp.

State Representative Al Ott (R-Forest Junction) says there are worries about the drug connotation of hemp, which could tarnish Wisconsin’s image. He says there’s also no infrastructure to support a market for the product. Ott says he understands farmers are struggling in the tough economy, but he doesn’t feel it’s time to dilute the agriculture industry.
Gateway Drug to Homicides? In a state that has legalized marijuana, no one expected this...Scott Walker, you might wanna pick up on this:

NBC4i: The Southern Colorado Cannabis Council responded to May's comments with the statement: "Study after study has shown that there is no correlation between cannabis use and violent crime." The group is asking May to retract his statement or prove there's a connection between marijuana and homicides.
For me, the research I've conducted have led me to this; marijuana is the gateway drug to sleep. 

Friday, May 11, 2018

Paul Ryan raises $30 Million from "Extreme Billionaire Activist" pushing "rest of his far" right agenda!!!

We hear a lot about liberal traitor George Soros, because he's one of the few billionaires throwing money at the Democrats. He's bad, real bad.

Heroic conservative billionaires are smarter and real Americans. They've created a network of political front groups, think tanks, and "charities" that influence local races with lots of outside money.

Walker and Ryan's Shi* don't Stink Billionaire Con: Remember this about "outside special interests?"

...or this about those nasty extremist billionaires...

Paul Ryan's "Extreme Billionaire" Con + $30 Million: So Republican hate those extreme out-of-state billionaires? And yet Paul Ryan, caught by MSNBC, went out and cleverly raising $30 million from billionaire extremist Sheldon Adelson, in Nevada? Think any of that money will make it to Wisconsin? We'll be waiting for a Scott Walker apology... 

SHELDON ADELSON has cut a $30 MILLION CHECK to the House GOP-leadership aligned CONGRESSIONAL LEADERSHIP FUND (CLF), a massive cash infusion that top Republicans hope will alter the party’s electoral outlook

“The long-sought donation was sealed last week when, according to two senior Republicans, House Speaker Paul Ryan flew to Las Vegas to meet with the billionaire at his Venetian Hotel (with) Norm Coleman, the former Minnesota senator who chairs the Republican Jewish Coalition.

“As a federally elected official, Ryan is not permitted to solicit seven-figure political donations. When Ryan (R-Wis.) left the room, Coleman made the ask and secured the $30-million contribution." 

Food Stamp work requirement will Dramatically Hurt Farmers and Low-Income Households.

Here's what I don't get; instead of solving the root causes of social problems, Republicans go after the safety net programs put in place to help the victims of those problems. Remember "tort reform," it went after people injured or killed from medical mistakes, instead of trying to reduce those medical mistakes. The same is true of food stamps.

GOP Ideological Agenda different from Real World Problems: The lack of food and medical benefits for the poor, a problem in third world countries, is coming to the U.S.

In conjunction with the proposed $17 billion cuts to Snap in the Farm Bill, Republicans are getting waivers to institute draconian work requirements (30 hours a week in WI) that will drop many needy families.
"There is a proposal of a cut of about 17 billion to the SNAP or food stamp program over the next 10 years," said Zack Wilson, with the High Plains Food Bank. 
Work-for-Food another GOP created Problem: The GOP has been pushing this for a long time, and are now about to get their precious work requirements. But what got people on the food stamp program in the first place? Stagnant and dropping wages along with a ridiculously low minimum wage? The Great Recession that forced many big box stores and struggling manufacturers to go out of business? That was an outcome from the GOP's deregulation and voluntary regulation of Wall Street banks. So let's cut food stamps instead of tackling the reason why so many people need them:
USDA: “What would happen if funding for the Food Stamp Program were cut by $5 billion?” and “What would happen if food stamp benefits were converted from food vouchers to cash?” No matter which way the question is posed, changes in food assistance policy have effects on low-income households and the farm economy.
1. The $5 billion food stamp cut led to decreases in farm and food processing production ... approximately $1.3 billion and 7,500 jobs lost. The hardest hit farm sectors were livestock, feed crops, and fresh fruits and vegetables. 

2. The $18.5 billion food stamp cash-out led to decreases in farm and food processing production of approximately $3.5 billion and 18,500 jobs lost. Again, the hardest hit farm sectors were livestock, feed crops, and fresh fruits and vegetables. The production and job losses were distributed across the Nation.

3. The number of “working poor” increased as a result of the food stamp cut. Spurred by the reduction in food stamp benefits, low-income households sought more work hours, but, in aggregate, did not earn enough labor income to compensate for the drop in food stamp benefits.