Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Madison High School Students get more guns in school instead of sane gun laws!

Public opinion never did matter much to Republicans dead set on rolling out their deadly firearms agenda, and now it's showing, vividly.

Instead of keeping guns from getting in the hands of the next mass killer, Republicans turned background checks upside down, and into...more guns in schools. Funny, I'm beginning to think Republicans are the mentally unstable folks who definitely shouldn't have guns.

Oh, and a real lesson for soon-to-be voting age high schoolers who live at home and won't have any problem at all registering to vote:
WPR: Republican state lawmakers on Tuesday blocked their Democratic colleagues' attempt to take up a bill that would institute universal background checks for gun purchases in Wisconsin ... GOP lawmakers used procedural moves to replace the measure with a proposal to fund grants for schools to provide firearms to safety officers.

Madison high school students joined Democratic lawmakers in the Capitol on Tuesday morning to call for strengthening Wisconsin’s gun laws in the wake of another deadly school shooting. "We have an obligation to these kids, to the people of the state who want us to act on background checks," said Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison, during the floor debate. "This is the bare minimum we should be doing."
What did Republicans find so unreasonable that they had to put everyday Wisconsinites lives at risk? Something is very very wrong when the following is called "all politics all the time:"
...proposal to institute universal background checks, and bills that would prohibit individuals convicted of domestic violence from buying firearms and outlaw the sale of bump stocks, which make weapons more deadly.
Sound like politics, not reasonable gun legislation? Don't forget that Republican Rep. Robin Vos said that after another mass school shooting and 17 dead teenagers. What's to fear:
 "It's all politics, all the time. And I think it's really sad, and it's really cynical, because they are preying on the fears of some Wisconsinites and using it for their own political purposes."
And again, the evil Democratic terrorists are leading the charge, and this time with the next generation of voters fed up with ruthless killing and Republican inaction:
Madison East High School senior Carlos Vanhook said current gun laws are doing the opposite of helping prevent violence. "There’s a system in this country that’s entitling some people to violence."
"Law-abiding gun owners don’t go out and shoot up schools."
Some gun rights advocates have pushed for arming teachers in response to the violence. Students pushed back on that idea. "I think the question we should be asking is what if we did something to prevent the action from happening in the first place?" said Caitlin King, a student a Memorial High School in Madison.
Prevention, Republicans ask? What's that? Student get it...heck, everyone gets it except for our Republican NRA lackeys. They either know or are just plain stupid. It should be embarrassing. WISC:

Democratic Minority Leader Gordon Hintz, D-Oshkosh, said Democratic lawmakers have been pushing gun legislation "for years," but it "hasn’t been a priority" for GOP lawmakers in power. "We have reached the point where enough is enough," Hintz said. "The silence has been deafening for too long in this state."
Despite the mass shootings, Republicans are stuck in some kind of Bizarro World 1950's time bubble where none of this is really happening:
Republicans had proposed a bill, supported by the National Rifle Association and other firearms advocates, that would have allowed individuals to carry concealed guns without getting training or state permits, and in some cases bring them onto school grounds. Also, on Monday, Rep. Jesse Kremer (R-Kewaskum) began circulating for signatures an 11th-hour bill that would allow the carrying of concealed weapons in private schools and reducing the penalty for carrying a weapon on public school grounds to a Class B forfeiture.

Monday, February 19, 2018

The Wisconsin GOP's Pretzel Logic Health Care Maze!

Isn't anyone else as freaked out as I am over the massive regulatory mess being created by Soctt Walker and his band of plundering Republican pirates? I had no idea "small" government could get this big.

Republicans Solve Another of their Problems? Republicans finally cut taxes for those poor disadvantaged U.S. corporations so they could compete in the global economy, but forgot to do away with that other big drag on U.S. business, health care.

The contortions Republicans have gone through to make health care as expensive as hell treating the sick and the dying may be ghoulish and ethically reprehensible, but it's a winner for their base. Here's the latest Rube Golberg contraption Republicans think business has all the time and money in the world to create:

A bill scheduled to be taken up by the state Assembly this week would allow small businesses to band together to offer a new type of insurance plan to employees … businesses could pool their money to "self-fund" employee health benefits.
Well, that doesn't sound time consuming and costly.

While a national health care plan would free up business to what they do best...you know, business, Republicans just can't go there. Instead, why not make small businesses form groups, keep records, may payments, disperse care...?
The bill's sponsor, Rep. Shannon Zimmerman, R-River Falls, said the costs of health care are a major concern for small businesses across the state. "These little guys in Wisconsin, they're fantastic businesses, they simply don't have the economies of scale to purchase cost effectively," he said.
Oops, Zimmerman forgot complying with State Law for Required Services: Hey, it was just a first draft, right?
But, as the proposal is currently written, these "employer groups" would not have to comply with state laws for health insurance, which include requirements for coverage of certain procedures and treatments. Rep. Debra Kolste, D-Janesville, says consumers depend on those insurance laws to ensure they're covered for the things they need. "The essential benefits of health care would be gone. Colorectal cancer screening gone, copayment equality for chemotherapy that we worked on hard a couple sessions ago, gone."
Rep. Zimmerman says he is open to changing the proposal to include those coverage requirements.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Walker's Legacy Fossil Fuel Energy problem leaves Wisconsin far behind our Neighbors!!!

Scott Walker's whole agenda has been to push tired old policies from the 80's and 90's. Not surprisingly, the manufacturing renaissance didn't happen. On the coal burning energy front, Wisconsinites are paying a higher price for their utility bills because those plants needed to clean up their emissions.

Bullheadedly sticking with legacy fuels and claiming falsely that they are still so much cheaper than alternative fuels has effectively left Wisconsin behind most other states.

Wisconsin has some of the highest electricity prices in the nation, although the average customer spends far less on electricity than in most states (residents aren’t running air conditioners as much as their counterparts in the hot and sticky southern states).

So why are Wisconsin’s rates so high?

“Built-in costs. It’s a combination of legacy infrastructure and legacy business models.”said Gary Radloff, director of Midwest Energy Policy Analysis for the Wisconsin Energy Institute. Utilities have invested heavily in power plants and transmission lines that are paid off over decades through customer rates set by the Public Service Commission.

Those investments also include billions of dollars spent on pollution controls for aging coal plants, some of which are now being replaced with new natural-gas plants, said Tom Content, executive director of the Citizens Utility Board, which represents the interests of residential and small businesses.

Content said Wisconsin ratepayers would be better off if utilities had followed those in Minnesota and Iowa by investing sooner in lower-cost natural gas and wind generation. “If you went with natural gas and renewables, you’re not trying to have a cleaner burning cigarette, you’re not smoking,” he said.

Yet the PSC has also approved significant increases in recent years to the flat monthly fee customers pay just to have an account, something consumer advocates argue punishes those who use the least electricity. “We’ve been investing heavily in the supply side,” Content said. “And not in helping customers manage their energy costs.”

Last Chance Revenue and Road Funding Solution?

Guns, Mass Shootings still not the problem...

The Florida school shooting is another unthinkable heart wrenching tragedy made worse by the knowledge no one in the Republican Party will anything about it...again. It's not just the NRA campaign money, but their rationalization that nothing can be done and will be done, or that treating the mentally ill will silence the even louder calls for rational gun control laws. Republicans proactively passed a law giving guns to those with dementia and mental illness.

Former Republican Rep. David Jolly of Florida is now openly advocating flipping the House of Representatives. Below is his advice to voters and to Democrats that makes sense. I know, Democrats have been saying this stuff for years, but as Jolly notes, this one is in the hands of the voters-flip the House:   
Jolly: “And so if this is the issue that defines your ideology as a voter, there are two things I would suggest tonight. First, flip the House. Flip the House. Republicans are not going to do a single thing after this shooting we saw today. But I would also offer to Democrats, work for incremental wins."

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said on the Senate floor that mass shootings are "a consequence of our inaction."
"This happens nowhere else other than the United States of America — this epidemic of mass slaughter. It only happens here not because of coincidence, not because of bad luck, but as a consequence of our inaction. We are responsible for a level of mass atrocity that happens in this country with zero parallel anywhere else."
For a guy like Paul Ryan, who would be very happy seeing 26 million Americans lose their health care while cutting Medicare for seniors, this irresponsible and detached response makes it clear who he really represents:

Kind of makes this the argument about how money corrupts your moral and ethical values:

Sen. Tammy Baldwin's potential Republican opponent State Sen. Leah Vukmir would ignore the gun carnage by going after those destructive self-esteem programs:

Vukmir wrote in the post about Columbine: “[O]ur national obsession with the feelings of teenagers has played an enormous but heretofore unrecognized role in what is transpiring nationwide. Unless we change our attitudes and approach to dealing with the normal developmental phase of [the] years known as adolescence, I fear another Columbine is inevitable.”

Vukmir criticized what she said was parents and administrators “coddling” teens’ emotions and making them “self-absorbed” rather than teaching them to roll with the punches. “It is under these circumstances that a despondent teen may find no other recourse but to lose control and act out violently,” she said.
There hasn't been a new federal gun law since 1994, because...we don't have a problem:

Yes, Something Can Be Done: The myth that nothing can be done to stop someone hell bent on committing a mass shooting is the wall Republicans love to stand behind. The facts say otherwise:
Europeans had school shootings, too. Then they did something about it. In Europe, there hasn't been a major high-casualty gun attack on a campus in almost a decade. Meanwhile, Wednesday's shooting in Florida was at least the sixth of its kind in the United States this year — 45 days into 2018.

In his famous study, “Public Mass Shooters and Firearms: A Cross-National Study of 171 Countries,” University of Alabama criminology professor Adam Lankford found a link between the number of guns and mass shootings that killed four or more people. The data set ranged from 1966 through 2012 ... a decrease in the number of weapons also would probably result in a decrease in shootings. That’s exactly what happened in Australia after the country tightened gun legislation following a mass shooting in 1996. Countries where gun ownership is rare, such as France or Britain, have largely been spared such catastrophic incidents.

Switzerland has one of the world’s highest ratios of firearms per person, Why has there never been a school shooting in Switzerland, despite the Swiss enthusiasm for weapons? Switzerland’s weapons are distributed to citizen soldiers, as they are known. Conscription is mandatory for male Swiss citizens, and conscripts can keep their semiautomatic assault rifles at home even after returning to their nonmilitary careers. (They still have to report for a short annual training). Meanwhile, those who wish to buy weapons themselves need to undergo a weeks-long background check.

Some sociologists say that Switzerland's military service comes close to an extended background check, too, and that the country's education system teaches children early on to search for compromises instead of risking open conflicts. Hence, while almost every home in Switzerland may have a weapon, access is still indirectly regulated. There’s also another crucial difference with the United States: extensive, mandatory health insurance, which allows schools to have direct and immediate access to psychologists and intervention teams. Psychological tests are also standard practice for Germans younger than 25 who want to purchase firearms. Age restrictions were tightened and a national registry of all weapons was created in 2013.
Here's Voldemort wannabe Gov. Rick Scott with the standard issue do-nothing talking points that won't cut it anymore:

Conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin had this safety suggestion for lawmakers:

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Wish we all had American Harvest Boxes?

Office of Management and budget director Mick Mulvaney's tea party caucus creds went through the
roof yesterday, when he described the food stamps new food in a box “Blue Apron-type program:”
Mulvaney:“What we do is propose that for folks who are on food stamps, part — not all, part — of their benefits come in the actual sort of, and I don't want to steal somebody's copyright, but a Blue Apron-type program where you actually receive the food instead of receive the cash. It lowers the cost to us because we can buy [at wholesale prices] whereas they have to buy it at retail. It also makes sure they're getting nutritious food. So we're pretty excited about that.”
Aren't we all. Wait a minute, Republicans refused to negotiate drug prices because it was unfair for the government to contort the market and put private business at a major disadvantage blah, blah, blah...too bad for all those private sector grocery stores:
The proposal is also likely to enrage food retailers — particularly Walmart, Target and Aldi — that stand to lose billions if food stamp benefits are cut, analysts say.

Mulvaney's remarks drew raised eyebrows from some critics, who accuse the Trump administration official of drawing an unfair comparison between the food stamp program, which delivers an average of $1.37 per meal to America's poorest, and a high-end meal kit that runs $10 per serving. Blue Apron found that four in 10 lapsed meal-kit subscribers dropped their service because they were too costly.
Idea who's time...wait, no ones been talking about this:
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a statement, "It maintains the same level of food value as SNAP participants currently receive, provides states flexibility in administering the program, and is responsible to the taxpayers” ... dubbed “America’s Harvest Box,” all households receiving more than $90 per month in benefits — 81 percent of SNAP households overall — would begin receiving about half their benefits in the form of government-purchased, nonperishable food items.
Right Wing Think Tanks Appalled Too: It's got to be pretty bad when the response from Redstate's Sr. Editor Ben Howe actually sounded like a reasonable common sense liberal:

Big Government Republicans Rube-Goldberg Maze of Safety Net Programs:
Jim Weill, president of the Food Research and Action Center, described the proposal as a “a Rube-Goldberg designed system of commodity distribution via food boxes. [It] will be administratively costly, inefficient, stigmatizing, and prone to failur. [And it] will return the country to Depression-era anti-hunger approaches.”

Kevin Nicholson not contacting Parents anymore..."their decision?"

Senate candidate Kevin Nicholson was trained to be a "weapon" and rifleman when he served in the Marines. That fighting mentality changed Nicholson's ideological world view, from Democrat to Republican. Once a Marine, always a Marine, and that's why he's more qualified than Sen. Tammy Baldwin.

My dad was a decorated Marine and survived a round through his chest. I don't remember him saying he was better or more qualified then any other American. That's why I'm skeptical of anyone who brags about serving in the armed forces, expecting a whole bunch of hero worship, and suggesting they're so much better. That's Nicholson. VoteVets wants you to know...

Nicholson Divides Family over Trumpism: After the news hit the fan about Nicholson's parents donating lots of money to his opponent Senator Tammy Baldwin, Nicholson showed his true colors in a Fox News interview that was not just sad, but revealing; his politics resulted a family split with his liberal parents. It's pretty bad when your own parents can't talk to you anymore. Even worse, Nicholson makes no mention of his parents or childhood at his campaign site.

As he tells it, Kevin Nicholson wife, kids and that Marine Corps experience that ripped away his "illusions," made him a better parent than his own mother and father. Even the Fox host stepped in defending his family, reminding Kevin that they also had life experiences that made them who they are...Democrats. Nicholson's words of wisdom and advice to becoming a Republican?
Nicholson: "If you want to have your illusions ripped away, as a young person, go to war, and you're going to learn a lot about yourself, and you'll learn a lot about the world."
Too bad Donna and Michael Nicholson, who continue to wallow in their world of illusion, missed out on so much. That goes for most of us.