Saturday, March 17, 2018

Where we're not spending the budget surpluses...

Student Protesters Nationwide Smarter than Republican Politicians on Gun Crisis.

It always seemed the gun debate pitted logic and common sense against cliches and imagined 2nd Amendment gun rights that even covered specific gun models.

The Children: For example, here are the fearless articulate messages we're hearing from high school students:

and this...

The "Adults:"
 Now here are the "look over there" distractions being sold first, by Wisconsin's own embarrassing NRA sellout Paul Ryan, who couldn't look or sound more ridiculous:

and this position...where "we has the wisdom."

Republicans are Everything They Say We Are: We have to come up with a new word to describe those blindly hypocritical "real Americans." It's not funny or ironic anymore. How do you have a debate with someone who has no self-awareness at all? For instance...this kid's protest sign and the fact that schools had to cancel their protests due to what, armed threats?

Schools Try to Stop Student Protesters with Threats, Suspensions: Those "constitutional conservatives" out there never did like the First Amendment much. You know, this part...the "right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances" lacks the necessary obedience-to-power Trumpian right-wingers can't get enough of.

First, from the Waukesha School District, in the words of one student there:
As students at Waukesha North march and walk out to create a movement, we are being faced with threats of truancy tickets from an administration which has backtracked their own statements to the point of incoherency. First, student organizers at North were threatened by the School District of Waukesha for any type of advocacy in any way pertaining to them or their students. After the district's statement made national news on CNN, Todd Gray gave an interviewing denying his stance against students taking part in the movement.

Then again, they changed their stance, with principals giving guidelines to something closer resemble an assembly than a protest. Still, we tried to find a compromise. The realization that they were warping our ideas beyond recognition came when we were told we couldn't call it a walk out or a protest. The same administration with the audacity to tell us that The Women's March, a group actively advocating for legislative change so that it's harder for students to get hurt, was using us to push their own agenda, turned out to be using us to warp and quiet the story.
And so many others...
Nevada school administrators threatened to withhold students’ diplomas and kick students off sports teams for participating in the walkout.

Students in Texas were told they would be suspended if they protest gun violence, on the same day a local 14-year-old was charged over a shooting threat..."All will be suspended for 3 days and parent notes will not alleviate the discipline ... A school is a place to learn and grow educationally, emotionally and morally. A disruption of the school will not be tolerated.”

Sophomore Rosa Rodriquez the only student to walk out of Sayreville HS this morning #nationalwalkout Under threat of suspension several hundred others allowed to attend gathering in school auditorium #1010wins

A number of high schools cancelled or postponed their planned walkouts after receiving anonymous violent threats related to the protests. In Broughton High School in Raleigh, North Carolina; Hackensack High School in Bergen County, New Jersey; D.C. Everesthigh school in Weston, Wisconsin; Mukwonago High School in Wisconsin; and Romeoville High School in Illinois, protests were cancelled or postponed because of threats, sometimes in instances in which the threats were found not to be credible, out of an abundance of caution. In one instance, Shikellamy High School’s protest in Pennsylvania was cut short because of the threat of a drive-by shooting. Clearview Regional High School and Clearview Middle School in Gloucester County, New Jersey, were closed entirely because of an anonymous threat.
And finally...a school that forced their students to take a side:

An Ohio high school student has found himself at the center of political controversy after an online post about his suspension for staying in class during the national student school walkout went viral ... he chose not to join his classmates because he didn’t go to a designated area of the school where the non-protesters were supposed to be, he didn’t want to choose a side, and instead stayed by himself in a classroom. 

On social media Shoemaker’s now-viral suspension slip has been spun into a tale about how a liberal school system impeded the rights of a student who supported the Second Amendment, On Twitter, users shared Shoemaker’s photos of the suspension slip with hashtags such as #GunControlNever and #LiberalismIsAMentalDisorder. One person tweeted, “To paraphrase George Orwell, some speech is more equal than others.”
To all the students who suddenly realized they all have truly remarkable power. Their message is so clear and so well-stated that it stands in stark contrast to the mindnumbing nonsense spewed out by Republican politicians.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Walker's "Office of School Safety" not really about guns...

Boy, you can just tell Scott Walker is being forced to react to the nationwide movement to back universal background checks and ban high velocity military style weapons. Students figured it out. They're seeking a plan to "prevent" shooters from getting guns and entering schools, not react TO shooters already wondering the halls.

Oh, and just a reminder, guns were supposed to make us safer? 

Walker's "bold" plan is political gobbledygook meant to sidetrack real gun regulation. He doesn't even mention guns...what guns? In fact, why do anything at all...
 "Walker said he thinks tougher gun laws won't deter people who are willing to commit terrorism."
 Walker's just parroting every other Republican. Remember when Walker repealed the 48 hour cooling off period to buy a firearm?
State Rep. Jesse Kremer.“I understand that opponents of this legislation will argue that the two day period is an essential ‘cooling off’ period; However, I do not consider this a viable argument. If someone is intent on committing the crime of murder, they will find a way to do it — be it with a bat, knife or an illegally purchased weapon,”
Walker deep down doesn't really give a damn, as Dane County Executive Joe Parisi pointed out recently:
 Parisi: "It used to be, that there was an exception in the levy limits that would allow schools to spend more money for safety enhancements like that. Gov. Walker also eliminated that exemption to the levy limit, making it more difficult for schools to do that."
Grudgingly Saving Kids Lives: Spending another $100 million, Walker's answer is to throw more money at the problem, create a bureaucratic office to stall or prevent reform under AG Brad Schimel, and tweak laws and procedures already in place since 2009:
1. Establishing the Office of School Safety under the Wisconsin Department of Justice (two permanent positions (a director and program and planning analyst) and two project positions).
2. Requiring Mandatory Reporting for any threats of school violence.
3. Amending bullying statue to include prompt parental notification.
And blah, blah, blah...
4. Incorporating Trauma-Informed Care (TIC) and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) into training programs.
5. Strengthening school safety plan requirements.
6. Encouraging cooperation with local law enforcement.
Oops, Walker forgot to encourage universal background checks and a ban on high capacity military style weapons.

Democrats have been on top of this for years, but for some reason, when they want to spend money - like on school safety...well. Instead of Walker's $100 million plan, local governments can spend what they need, but still come in under that amount:
A Democratic proposal to exempt school safety measures from state-imposed limits on property taxes would cost property owners $85 million, according to a Legislative Fiscal Bureau memo released Wednesday.
Superintendent Tony Evers also objected to putting the grant program under the control of Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel, who, Evers noted, has signaled he is open to arming classroom teachers. Evers, Shilling and Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz, D-Oshkosh, said Walker is ignoring student concerns about gun safety. "For a plan that is supposed to be about gun safety, I don’t see anything in here that will keep deadly firearms out of the wrong hands," Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling, D-La Crosse, said in a statement.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

DeVos DeBacle

Betsy DeVos has made her elitist career out of repeating a few school privatization concepts that now seem like they're based on actual facts. Like these...
1. The framework for pulling public educations much-needed funding from administrators and teachers is based on the falsehood "schools are failing."

2. The idea that competition from private schools will make public schools better? Ridiculous since district schools have been competing with each other for as long as I can remember. It's one reason families buy houses near the best schools or in the best school districts. 
Ideological Bubble Wrap: Education Sec. Betsy DeVos was not allowed to get away with wildly general talking points trashing public education. The facts made her squirm. Here's a line that couldn't be more conceptually crazy:
DeVos: "We should be funding and investing in students, not in school buildings, not in institutions, not in systems..."
Bullshit. News Flash!!! Students go to "buildings" filled with teachers, technology, and ideas. So behold the Republican style of government and their buyer beware fantasy vision of America. DeVos is another Republican victim of her own bad ideas that predictably, resulted in threats requiring armed security. She could end the threats by rethinking her positions and compromising but not Republicans:

Secretary Devos has cherry picked her data. She is correct that U.S. test scores are stagnant on PIRLS and PISA. They are decidedly not stagnant on TIMSS, NAEP long-term trends, and main NAEP. She is incorrect when she asserts that on international tests “we have continued to be middle of the pack at best” (in each of the international assessments there are many more countries that score below than above the U.S.). It is important for the Secretary get the facts of these matters straight.

Friday, March 9, 2018

School Protection Devices offered up by Wisconsin Inventors!!!

When concealed carry passed in Wisconsin, I told my conservative friend in Milwaukee that not only will firearms change how we personally solve social conflicts for the worse, but it will eventually coerce everyone else to either carry a gun or require armed security at large gatherings. So here we are.

School Security doesn't have to be Costly: The need to shore up school entryways will still cost a lot, thanks to gun drooling juvenile adults that never advanced past their reckless teen years. These are the same rugged individualists complaining about wasteful spending and high taxes. Irresponsible gun laws are now forcing taxpayers to spend more money on schools that have nothing to do with learning.

While high school students advocate passing common sense gun laws that PREVENT school shootings, one student from the dairy state came up with a device we can use in the meantime.

"JustinKase" door jam: A better way to go, for just $95, protects interior classroom doors, and was invented by a Wisconsin Somerset high school student.  His district is snapping them up because they work:
According to a WCCO-TV report, Somerset, Wisconsin, High School Justin Rivard invented a tool called the "JustinKase" that is designed to stop intruders from entering a classroom. More information on the device can be found here.

Gun Shot Detector: An additional option for high schools was developed by a Wisconsin woman in Baraboo, that detects gun shot anywhere in the building:
WISC: Stacy Jax will forever remember Dec. 14, 2012, the day a gunman entered Sandy Hook Elementary School and within minutes, killed 20 children and six adults. “My daughter was in kindergarten at the time and I am a previous teacher,” Jax said. “So putting myself exactly in that classroom was very disturbing.”

Several people in the building heard gunshots, but did not immediately recognize them. She came up with Trinity Gunshot Alarm System, a sensor inside a school that could listen for the sound of a gunshot and then set off an alarm similar to a fire alarm. The sensor picked up the gunshots almost instantaneously, meaning in a real active shooter situation everyone would have seconds longer to react. Those seconds, Hodges said, could make all the difference. “It only takes seconds to fire a round, so if you think every time a gun goes off, that’s another victim, every second does count,” he said.

Both Free Speech and Police attacked by Wisconsin Republican over his own Paranoid Visions and Love for AR15's!

Wisconsin is turning up the Trumpian lunacy by attacking law enforcement here now!!! 
GOP lawmaker lashes out at Capitol Police after investigation of alleged threat ends without charges.
If only a paranoid gun loving Republican lawmaker like Rep. Adam Jarchow could just arrest people when he imagines he's been rubbed the wrong way, you know, send out a warning shot free speech will not be tolerated.
An investigation into an inflammatory social media post by a Houlton man that was flagged by a Republican lawmaker as potentially threatening has ended with no charges. Capitol Police contacted Garry Fay, 60, after an aide to Jarchow alerted them to a social media post in which Fay was critical of Jarchow’s support for an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. Fay was reacting to a previous Twitter message from Jarchow in which he stated he loved his AR-15.
As you can see, Jarchow is real sensitive-like when it comes to high school students nationwide demanding a ban on military weapons!

This is the supposed "threat," which was basically shooting off a few rounds...with no mention of shooting at people. Unless that's what guys like Jarchow automatically think:
“Is he saying he wants us to visit his children’s school with AR 15s and lots of magazines to shoot off a few rounds to prove we love the 2nd amendment as much as he does?” Fay wrote. “Then we should shoot up his church and home and finally go gonzo on Congress itself?”

Fay told a police officer he posted the comment because he was disturbed by Jarchow’s Twitter message given “everything going on in the world,” according to a Capitol Police report. The officer responded that Fay’s social media comment could be taken the wrong way and interpreted as a threat. Fay said he didn’t own any guns and never planned to own any. “Capitol Police investigated the incident and determined the Facebook post was not a credible threat.”
Having visited Jarchow's twitter page, man, this guy's got anger issues...keep guns out of his hands. I'm requesting police do that now:
In a series of tweets Thursday afternoon, Jarchow criticized Capitol Police for not contacting him after it concluded its investigation and called it a “bozo operation. I guess now you can threaten the family of public officials so long as when the cops ask about it, you say ‘just kidding. The moronic things people get tickets for and this (expletive) gets zip? Next time I hope he says it to my face.
That a "threat?" Maybe then you can use your AR 15, right? Again, why isn't someone flagging Jarchow's tweets as possible threats so police can take away his weapons?

GOP Hates Weddings!!! What's next, Wisconsinites required to purchase a $100,000 license to buy beer and wine and the store?

Let me start the same way I did for my last post: After combing through The Wheeler report this morning, a few job-killing GOP sponsored ideas stood out. The irony? Since deep-pocketed business interests now control state government, they've decided to use their power to protect themselves and their bottom lines, by killing off other rising business opportunities and development. I did not see this one coming.

The Tavern League of Wisconsin Owns Wisconsin: Let's start with this gem from the summer of 2017:
A proposal in a memo obtained by a conservative group could force brewers and wineries to work with distributors to sell their products instead of selling directly to customers. Opponents say the Wisconsin Tavern League and alcohol distributors are pushing the plan. forward to now, where a simple bill to extend winery hours till midnight completely blew up, thanks to the Tavern League:
As the state Senate convenes, it may consider (an amendment to a) bill that would require event and wedding venues such as barns and galleries to obtain alcohol licenses. For events that want to serve liquor, they will be after the same hard-to-find licenses in Door County valued by some municipalities at $100,000. Due to Door County’s low permanent population relative to the influx of tourists, many municipalities have given out all of their liquor licenses and have none remaining for these event venues to purchase.

Wedding and event planner Carrie Baldwin Smith said,“If this really passes the way it’s sounding, this is going to be traumatic to any place up here.” Baldwin Smith said her clients purchase all of the beer, wine and liquor themselves for the events she manages. While the Tavern League believes the new law will promote fairness, the current system is not much different from going to the grocery store and buying alcohol for a party.
And the bully in the rooms says...
Scott Stenger, lobbyist for the Tavern League of Wisconsin, said the bill will level the playing field for all businesses that want to sell liquor. “That is the whole purpose behind licensure. When there is alcohol being dispensed they require you to be licensed.”
No Representation? No Special Elections Bites Scott Walker in Ass:  Well, this didn't take long:

The current version of the bill before the Senate is limited to the extension of winery hours, but the Senate can consider adding the Assembly’s amendment to the bill.

However, anyone in Door County or throughout the 1st Senate district will have a hard time being heard on the issue. The Senate seat representing Door County is vacant after Frank Lasee left the position in December. Governor Walker has not called a special election for the seat, citing unnecessary cost at the end of the legislature’s session, opting to fill it with the election in November.
This is what happens when you try to game the system. And voters will have nothing to say, no representation. And I'll bet they still vote Republican. Amazing:
Event venues in the county who want to serve liquor may be out of luck should the bill pass. Liberty Grove, Baileys Harbor and the Town of Egg Harbor, all of which harbor popular barn wedding and event venues, do not have any liquor licenses remaining. The same goes for the Village of Sister Bay, which is expecting construction of a 40-acre wedding barn and campus in the village to begin later this year.

Scott Walker's Job Killer: Sinks National Marine Sanctuary between Kewaunee and Port Washington!!!

After combing through The Wheeler report this morning, a few job-killing GOP sponsored ideas stood out. The irony? Since deep-pocketed business interests now control state government, they've decided to use their power to protect themselves and their bottom lines, by killing off other rising business opportunities and development. I did not see this one coming.

Lake Michigans Tourism Jobs Tanked thanks to Trump wannabee Scott Walker: Putting our historically significant offshore shipwrecks and state shoreline on the map as a destination for history buffs and underwater enthusiasts got torpedoed by Scott Walker, the guy who once pushed hard to get the designation. Why? Trump said so, that's why:

Leaders of cities along Lake Michigan said Thursday they were in “disbelief” after Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker pulled his nomination for a national marine sanctuary proposal ... would have blanketed dozens of offshore shipwrecks with federal protections ... “Residents, educators, business leaders, tourism executives, environmental groups, and elected officials from the cities of Port Washington, Sheboygan, Manitowoc, and Two Rivers have reacted with disbelief and disappointment to Governor Walker’s action rescinding his 2014 nomination of the area of Lake Michigan off their communities to be American’s newest National Marine Sanctuary,” the cities' leaders said.
Mr. Unintimidated Scott Walker too Afraid to confront Local Leaders: Another act of political cowardice:  
Greg Buckley, city manager for Two Rivers said he was “shocked” by the governor’s decision, which he said came “without consulting the duly elected community leaders in the lakeshore cities. 

Steps to implement the sanctuary (since 2014), which included multiple meetings to field public feedback, had pressed along steadily until last year, when President Donald Trump signed an executive order effectively preventing the naming of most new national marine sanctuaries.
Here's what the now rejected National Marine Sanctuary in Wisconsin would have looked like:

Here's what the only other National Marine Sanctuary on the Great Lakes, in Michigan, is doing and we're not:

*Scientific research facilities, including a dive operations center.

*Community boat-building center small watercraft workshop.

*Outdoor access to the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Trail and open-air picnic grounds.

*Maritime Heritage Center Gift Shop.

*Hosting approximately 60,000 visitors yearly, the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center is significantly increasing public awareness of maritime heritage resources in the Great Lakes.

One of the dimmest bulbs in our radically right-wing legislature is Sen. Duey Stroebel. Stroebel arrogantly assumes future politicians will never be able to solve their own unique problems so he'll do that for them now: 

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Walker's positive reelection message? "Liberals pushing anger and hate..."

Liberal Anger? The real anger is spewing out of Walker's reelection campaign, showing a total lack of self-awareness. Distracting from his shocking lack of problem-solving and heavy use of resentment, see if you can find his "positive" "optimistic" message?  

Walker above riff-raff Criticism:  So closing Lincoln Hills, doling out a $100 per child bribe, Trump criticism, shoring up ObamaCare, and now begging Kimberly Clark to retain jobs so he won't look bad, does Walker come across as a guy who thinks he's not in trouble? 

Scott Walker's Scrambling over Kimberly Clark Closure during Election Year: And yet, Walker's zeroed out corporate tax rate hasn't changed a thing. In fact, Walker is now "picking winners and losers" with a Kimberly Clark deal that would dish out $8 million a year for 15 years to retain 600 workers...this is the Republican vision of a free market? Why not a 2-year plan to help relocate and retrain the current labor force?
Under the deal championed by Gov. Scott Walker, Kimberly-Clark would be eligible for up to $7.8 million a year ... paid out as cash from the state because the company has no tax liability under current law.
Add to that Foxconn, and I  see a major trend developing for Republicans; taxpayer-funded wages.

So ignore the angry, resentful, hatefilled news headlines and inconvenient facts...: 


Sunday, March 4, 2018

Trump's Bigoted Judge Nominee backed by Wisconsin Bishops and Dumb Ron Johnson!

Let this be a warning for those who think politicizing religion is a good idea.

Roman Catholics believe Justice Anthony Kennedy went off the rail? Diversity means relaxed moral and ethical standards? Same-sex marriage damages civil society? Guess so:

Are they Catholic Social Bigots, just as God intended?
Archbishop Jerome Listecki of Milwaukee, and bishops in Madison, La Crosse, Green Bay and Superior ... said they "are troubled by the assessment that Gordon Giampietro is not receiving a fair hearing because of his Catholic faith. The teachings of the Catholic Church in the areas of marriage, family life and human sexuality are very clear. Catholic's (sic) who practice their faith understand and are able to articulate them. We believe that Catholics are capable of offering fair and impartial decisions when applying the law."
What did he say?
1. Giampietro said Justice Anthony Kennedy's ruling, "It's not really legal reasoning" that Kennedy "went off the rails years ago" in a decision striking down sodomy laws.

2. On March 25, 2014, Giampietro wrote that “calls for diversity” are “code for relaxed standards (moral and intellectual).”

3. In a July 24, 2015, interview on (faith radio's) “The Lydia LoCoco Show,” Giampietro was sharply critical of the Supreme Court decision affirming the right to same-sex marriage ... “worse” than the court’s Roe vs. Wade “because of the damage it does to civil society.”

4. In the same interview, he took aim at birth control pills, describing them as "an assault on nature."
Bigots are Unbiased and Fair, and not really bigots, even if they have to say so themselves? 
Commission member, Rick Esenberg, defended Giampietro and said the nominee did not have bigoted views. "You may disagree with the position of the Roman Catholic Church with respect to the nature of marriage, but the other thing Gordon has made clear is if he sits as a judge, he'll apply the law and not his personal religious views."
Sen. Tammy Baldwin has it right, again:
A spokeswoman for Baldwin said adding that the senator's objections to the nominee have nothing to do with his Catholic faith:
“These extremely troubling statements were not provided to the (commission) when it considered candidates for this vacancy. Both what was said, and the fact that it was not disclosed to the commission, raise serious questions about whether this nominee would be able to serve as a fair and impartial judge on a federal court.”

Yay! Scott Walker solving school safety problem he created!

Well, Scott Walker wasn't exactly rushing to protect Wisconsin schools from the next lunatic exercising his 2nd Amendment right to high-velocity high capacity weapons:
CapTimes: Walker said he has had several conversations with lawmakers who are drafting a comprehensive school safety legislative package. Walker could call a special session to bring lawmakers back to the Capitol. 
NRA Money? Lot's of it? Walker not Influenced? Like the Supreme Court said in Citizens United, money does not corrupt:
Walker, who received about $3.5 million from the National Rifle Association for elections in 2010, 2012 and 2014, disputed the argument that contributions from gun rights groups influence policy. He noted that he differs with the group on whether to give firearms to teachers.
Opposing that obviously crazy idea to arm teachers now qualifies as a brilliant decision by our governor? The bar is that low now? 

Walker will Solve Mental Health Failure He Created with Funding/Job Cuts: Maybe we should crack down on the mentally ill?

Yet the party deemed not responsible enough to govern had a few suggestions...
An effort by Senate Democrats to allow schools to exceed their revenue limits to implement school safety plans was blocked by the Republican majority last week. Democrats have also proposed reinstating a 48-hour waiting period for handgun purchases, banning the sale of bump stocks and banning anyone with a domestic violence misdemeanor conviction from owning a firearm.
Nutty right? Next thing you know they'll want to spend hard-earned taxpayers money protecting kids. Dane County Executive Joe Parisi appeared on WKOW's Capitol City Sunday and reminded us what might be keeping many school districts from acting:
Parisi: "It used to be, that there was an exception in the levy limits that would allow schools to spend more money for safety enhancements like that. Gov. Walker also eliminated that exemption to the levy limit, making it more difficult for schools to do that."

Make no mistake, Scott Walker and the Republicans own these mass shootings and the civil decay gun madness brought with it. In fact, Republicans are now trying to blame the gun carnage on gay marriage, liberalism, socialism, the pill, video games, movies, and racial equality...not guns.

Sure, let's change human nature first, got it.

Yet guns keep killing people and Republicans keep pushing myth after insulting myth. Dare we even look at the evidence?

Dog-whistles Gone, NRA Justice Candidate Screnock said of Rebecca Dallet: "What she's calling values is a liberal activist agenda." Wow!

The first candidate debate for the Supreme Court came and went without a single headline declaring candidate Judge Michael Screnock the wildly conservative activist we thought he was, all brought to us by the deep campaign pockets of the NRA and Wisconsin Manufacturing and Commerce lobbyists. 

Why reporters didn't jump all over the comment featured below is stunning. No, seriously, you won't believe it.

Screnock first suggested he and his big monied conservative financiers had a lock on "Wisconsin values" like "honesty, integrity, hard work, follow the golden rule....those are values," because liberal Wisconsinites don't also have those same values? If that wasn't bad enough, Screnock dived headfirst into Trumpian cesspool:
Screnock: "What she (Dallet) is calling values, is a liberal activist agenda. She's talked about workers rights..."
Ouch? Workers in Amerca have rights? Who wants that? Guess the corporate takeover of our courts is nearly complete:

After 8 years, Scott Walker decides he wants to Fight CWD to get reelected.

Better late than sorry?

Frustration with weakened state environmental protections is causing some Republican voters in Wisconsin to ponder something that was unthinkable 10 years ago — voting for Democrats.

Hunting and fishing enthusiasts, lakefront property owners and neighbors of large farming operations are among those who have grown unhappy with the long list of changes enacted by Republican Gov. Scott Walker and the GOP majority in the Legislature.
Dwindling numbers of deer hunters and deer killed are hard to hide:
Alan Hovarth, a retired paper mill manager who lives in Superior, said he has watched in dismay as a politicized DNR muzzled its scientists while avoiding tough decisions about the spread of chronic wasting diseasethrough the deer herd and hazardous pollution from the expansion of animal feedlots.

“I supported Gov. Walker initially — I was a strong supporter — but I’ve come to view some of these things that are being done as being detrimental, and that is of great concern to me,” Horvath said. “Their agenda is more important to them than allowing a healthy discussion.” Horvath said he will look more carefully at Democratic candidates than ever before
Here a look at 8 years worth of Walker's environmental teardown: Pretty much under the direction of the Assemblies environmental wrecking ball, Tom Tiffany. Keep in mind, this list is from October 2015:
(1.) Make it easier to destroy wetlands. (2.) Block homeowners’ ability to challenge large farms and frac sand mines when they believe a cluster of their high-capacity wells is drying up lakes, streams or drinking water. (3) Seek federal approval to extend by up to 20 years the deadlines for full compliance with limits on phosphorus discharges that promote weed and algae growth in lakes and streams. (4) Slow purchases of conservation lands while mandating land sales and banning local zoning rules that are more limiting than state standards for shoreline development. (5) Insisted it can’t legally limit the expansion of mega farms despite an order to do so from a judge who said ”massive regulatory failure” had tainted Kewaunee County drinking water. (6) Reduced the number of pollution violations it sends to state lawyers for court action and the number of wildlife citations it issues. (7) Delayed for years studying how small dust particles from the frac sand industry affect the health of neighboring residents. (8) Written emergency rules to decrease analysis of potential environmental harm and public hearings on sources of pollution when reviews of similar projects have been done. (9) Received warnings from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that air and water quality protections are inadequate or out of date.
But here's the clincher and focus of this post:
Allowed deer herd growth favored by hunters in areas with chronic wasting disease despite the advice of some scientists who say less deer density will slow the disease’s spread.
Scott Walker Checks off another Failure on his Reelection Repair Checklist: More study, and more watching and waiting. Walker still doesn't plan to do anything, but this do-nothing CWD plan sure comes across like he's trying:
Increased surveillance, increased sampling, carcass movement restrictions and local community involvement are just some the goals outlined in the recently updated Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources CWD Response Plan. Implementation of the plan as part of Gov. Scott Walker's Chronic Wasting Disease Initiative has already begun. The updated plan will be the guide for CWD response and management over the next five years. 

CWD Spreading...where's the Deer Czar Now? Since the DNR no longer relies on science, Walker is depending more on local volunteers to simply help out...:
...promote voluntary landowner surveillance testing permits, encourage the reporting of "sick deer" at the local level...
Hunters Start to Panic!!!: Gee, ya think? At least their "small government" pal Scott Walker is saving them a few bucks on their tax bills: 
The Tomahawk meeting (came) just a month after CWD was found in a wild deer in Lincoln County. It was killed in between Rhinelander and Tomahawk and it is the only wild one in North Central Wisconsin testing positive for CWD. "Obviously I'm concerned," said Jim Blankenhein, who lives just a few miles from where the deer was killed. "It makes me a little nervous." Blankenhein was one of about 50 people who showed up to the meeting. When it's been established in a population for any length of time, population's really drop off," said Chuck McCullough, a DNR Wildlife Supervisor. "If you have CWD in a population of wild deer it seems like it's a one-way trip downhill."

And then there's this additional Walker precaution:
They're hoping to have the help from private land owners along with collecting road kills and being notified about sick deer. The DNR is doing the collection in March to test them as soon as possible.
Previously I wrote this...This was Scott Walker's plan by design way back in April 2015:
Governor Scott Walker doesn't want the state to pay to remove deer carcasses along state highways, which means counties could have to foot the bill. Last year the DNR removed nearly 24,000 deer carcasses from state highways across Wisconsin.

The Governor's proposed budget eliminates $700,000 a year for the DNR to remove the carcasses statewide. Under the proposal, responsibility for clearing the deer would fall to whatever government agency is in charge of the roadway. Or they may be left uncollected. The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau cautions, "dead and decaying deer on the roadside are unsightly ad can dampen Wisconsin's reputation as a tourist destination."
Walker posted the following budget veto, because thanks to tax cuts, we don't have enough money to fund removal of these disease-spreading carcasses...nevermind putting off road repairs:

Friday, March 2, 2018

Behold the GOP's Health Care Profit Driven Vision

It's time to take a look at the never-ending nightmare of GOP health care meddling, and how the U.S. system keeps picking the pockets of the Amercian people for their ghoulish bottom line. Hail corporate profits!

GOP ACA Repeal now based on GOP's own Axing of Individual Mandate: Can they get away with this? And get this; “Scott Walker, avowed Obamacare opponent, passes law to shore it up”: yet he also signed off on letting state AG Brad Schimel join the Texas lawsuit to repeal the ACA. Doh!!!
Twenty state attorneys general have filed a new lawsuit that — like the many lawsuits before it — aims to take down the Affordable Care Act ... The suit makes a new legal argument that relies on Congress's recent repeal of the individual mandate penalty. This lawsuit starts from Congress's recent decision to ax Obamacare's penalty for not carrying health insurance, reducing the fine from $695 to $0 — essentially getting rid of the provision.

In previous rulings, the brief argues, the Supreme Court has stated that this mandate is crucial to making the Affordable Care Act work. With the individual mandate penalty killed, the lawsuit argues that the entire law is no longer workable and ought to be struck down.

Or, as the lawsuit itself puts it: "Once the heart of the ACA—the individual mandate—is declared unconstitutional, the remainder of the ACA must also fall."
GOP's Medicare Advantage Con for Profit: The privatization of Medicare promoted through Medicare Advantage has gamed the system, costing $1 billion. This is the GOP's baby, and yet no one is shouting this from the mountaintop:
The U.S. Justice Department recently has been dealt heavy blows in its quest to recover millions in allegedly fraudulent Medicare Advantage payments to UnitedHealth Group. The federal government ditched most of its False Claims Act lawsuit

The federal government will only litigate whether the data used to secure more than $1 billion in Medicare Advantage payments was invalid. 

The Justice Department has opened several investigations into the upcoding practices in the Medicare Advantage program. UnitedHealth, Aetna, Health Net, Humana and Cigna's Bravo Health are all under federal scrutiny for potential upcoding issues. Risk scores were created to incentivize plans to cover all seniors ... several whistle-blower lawsuits in recent years that allege health plans have been inflating the scores to collect more funds. The lawsuit claimed UnitedHealth collected payments from false claims that it treated patients for conditions they didn't have, for more severe conditions than they had, conditions that had already been treated, or diagnoses that didn't meet the requirements for risk adjustment.
Insurer Denials to Treat Americans Back Again...: Without the ACA's built-in protections to provide Americans with complete health care coverage, insurers are already denying claims without even looking at them. It didn't take long, did it? Anyone see a problem?
Two leading Senate Democrats asked Aetna to hand over information about its prior authorization process, citing concerns that their practices may have violated federal law ... during a deposition that he never reviewed patient medical records when deciding whether to pay for treatment.

Wyden and Murray said Aetna's behavior in the California case "appears to violate safeguards put in place by the Affordable Care Act," which require insurers to allow beneficiaries to review their file.Aetna has acknowledged that six state regulators are looking into its prior authorization practices

The critique comes as congressional Democrats worry expansion of insurance plans that don't comply with Affordable Care Act coverage protections will lead to a higher number of similar cases. The Trump administration has lifted the time-limit on short-term plans, a move that critics say will pit these plans in direct competition with traditional insurance. "These junk plans skirt key consumer protections included in the Affordable Care Act that bar insurance companies from ignoring appeals, denying care or charging people more because of their age, gender, or because of a pre-existing condition," the senators' release said.

GOP's Rube Goldberg "Group" Insurance Plan to Raise Rates, Reduce Coverage and Promote Junk Policies: Nuff said...
As many as 4.3 million people are projected to leave the individual and small group insurance markets to enroll in association health plans over the next five years ... premiums in the ACA individual and small group would rise as much as 4% between 2018 and 2022, according to healthcare consulting firm Avalere Health ... projected that another 130,000 to 140,000 people would become uninsured in five years, compared to current law. 

The Trump administration in early January proposed a rule that would allow more small businesses and self-employed workers to band together to buy insurance under association health plans ... but many health policy experts have argued that association plans not required to offer the same benefits and consumer protections as ACA-compliant plans ... with fewer healthy members to balance out the cost of the sicker, older enrollees, Avalere said.
It's Back - That "Preexisting Condition" Killer Gets Trump Endorsement: It's called a "short-term" plan...that could last forever. Republicans are again, trying to separate the deserving healthy from the burdensome sick, just like Jesus would have done:
According to the proposed rule on short-term plans, plans that don't fully comply with the law's coverage mandates ... people can re-apply for these policies. They would not be automatically renewed since they would have to face screenings for chronic and pre-existing conditions. Should enrollees pass these underwriting screens, they could hold the short-term plans for as long as they want, which critics say pits these plans directly against traditional insurance. They also pose higher out-of-pocket costs for enrollees and some exclude coverage mandated by the ACA, such as maternity care ... do include annual coverage caps.
Going Back to our Future-Preventable Deaths Return with a Vengence: No, Health care was not better before the Affordable Care Act. In fact, it was a killer:
Little by little, the Trump administration is dismantling elements of the Affordable Care Act and creating a health care system that looks more like the one that preceded it. But some states don’t want to go back and are working to build it back up.

Congress and the Trump administration have reduced Obamacare outreach, weakened benefit requirements, repealed the unpopular individual insurance mandate and broadened opportunities for insurers to offer inexpensive but skimpy plans to more customers.

Last week, the administration released its latest proposal along these lines, by changing the definition of so-called short-term plans that don’t need to follow any of the Obamacare requirements, including popular rules that plans include a standard set of benefits, or cover people with pre-existing conditions. Taken together, experts say, the administration’s actions will tend to increase the price of health insurance that follows all the Affordable Care Act’s rules and increase the popularity of health plans that cover fewer services. The result could be divided markets, where healthier people buy lightly regulated plans that don’t cover much health care, lower earners get highly subsidized Obamacare — and sicker middle-class people face escalating costs for insurance with comprehensive benefits.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Teen Activists, Consumers, and Voters key to gun laws...and change!

On guns...
"Yea, I'm more hopeful about gun control than I have been in a long time because the most powerful stakeholder in the American economy is the consumer .... and It seems the consumer is getting angry about this, and teens were the most important consumer in the world, because we wear their clothes, we take their cues in terms of media, what phones we want, what restaurants are cool, what vacation spots we want to go to. They are the tip of spear." - Professor Scott Galloway
I thought the quote above and the video clip below touched on new territory, that was exciting and so potentially powerful. And it could change the nations political dynamics...soon.

For decades, Republicans believed the longer a person experienced the harsh realities of life, the more conservative they would become. Of course that was ridiculous. Republicans believed that teens were too young to vote, naive, and weren't getting the kind of civic lessons they needed to become "real American." So Republican states now require a civics test to graduate. Big mistake. Curriculum changes already emphasized American history. That said, students were now arming themselves to be adept political realists and activists, hell bent on changing society for the better.

If you have the time, check out Professor Scott Galloway's interpretation of the events surrounding mass shootings and what he sees as a time for real change: 

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Paul Ryan distances himself from Humanity.

I hate to overuse this, but it works to set up this post...I recently tweeted this about the 2nd Amendment.

If you've noticed, Republicans are always protecting their supposed constitutional right to buy or not buy things, like big gulps, pigtail light bulbs, bump stocks, contraceptives, wedding cakes...etc.

All's well, Paul Ryan Defends doing nothing, and Buying Assault Weapons:  It would be easy to called Ryan a soulless ghoul...okay, I'm going to reign it in a little. But really, how can anyone act like he does, so cold, calculating, untethered to real world suffering? Maybe he's proving that someone can act out and become that greedy fictional character in an Ayn Rand novel? Note to Ryan: There are now an additional 17 people who's rights have been denied, forever:
Ryan: "We shouldn't be banning guns from law abiding what we want to do is protect peoples rights while making sure people who should not get guns do not get guns."
How has that worked so far? 

The Real Second Amendment Argument Ryan avoids...: I was fascinated by MSNBC's legal chief Ari Melber's piece on the Second Amendment that clearly exposes the vacuousness and mindlessness of just spewing out that old line, "we're protecting our Second Amendment right to bear arms." Melber has never been one to step out on a limb with a controversial opinion, so this means something. A must see:

Scott Walker's desperate, cynical, poll based reelection Hail Mary!!!

Scott Walker's sudden whiplash inducing support of the ACA's marketplace is a shocking admission he's been wrong and knows it. But what's worse is Walker's desperate out-of-character scheme based solely on high priority polling data showing how badly Republican have abandoned their voters biggest concerns.

Can it get any clearer than this. JR Ross explained why Walker flip flopped, so even low information "Stand with Walker" voters will get it; it's about polling demographics that contradicts the extreme GOP agenda. JS:
Ross: "Those suburban women we were care is their number one issue. If you look at some of the things that Walker proposed, a lot of them check boxes of demographics that they need come November...the rural economic development fund, that was a nod to rural voters who are going, 'hey, where's mine, we're worried up here when Foxconn gets $4.5 billion...One person told me that Republican got convinced because it's all polling. They saw what was going on out there, and they realized they needed to do something like this, and that helped to push this through."

Need more proof?

Walker Supports...and wants to kill the ObamaCare Marketplaces? Having it Both Ways: The Journal Sentinel headline reflects down-the-rabbit-hole politics, and how bad Walker wants it:

Gov. Scott Walker signed a $200 million bill Tuesday to stabilize Obamacare markets in Wisconsin even as state Attorney General Brad Schimel sued seeking to block the entire law. The GOP governor — a longtime critic of the Affordable Care Act — has emphasized:
“Our Health Care Stability Plan is our solution to Washington’s failure; we want to provide health care stability and lower premiums for Wisconsin." 
Not only does Walker not mean what he's saying, but apparently, the changes Republicans pushed through in Congress didn't just weaken the health care law, they made it "no longer constitutional." 
But Schimel, also a Republican, received Walker's sign-off to move this week in a different direction, leading a group of 20 states who are suing to block Obamacare entirely. Though Republicans in Congress failed to repeal the law last year, Schimel argues that they made enough changes that the law is no longer constitutional.
The reason?
In a 2012 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate in Obamacare by saying Congress had the authority to impose a tax on consumers who don't purchase health insurance. Last year, Congress and President Donald Trump eliminated the tax.

Schimel's lawsuit argues that because the tax has been dropped, the individual mandate to buy health insurance and, with it, the entire law are no longer constitutional.
It's the old Republican ploy; create a problem, then find away to avoid solving it.

Fitting perfectly in with the theme here, check out the latest from Brian Strassburg: