Friday, August 18, 2017

Freed White Republican Nationalism in Milwaukee spills out...

While I was thinking about how I would put together the following blog post, story after story kept popping up about the Trump wave of white nationalism sweeping the Republican Party. Oh sure many in the GOP have renounced what Trump said, but almost no one dared to mention Trump's name or called for any measures dealing with public outrage.

WISN12 had this amazing story that got very little reaction on twitter...even the signature right-wing misspelling, "Demorcrats," wasn't enough to get a mention?

And of course the following cover art featuring Trump in a way that might break get through to those blind obedient admirers:

Or these....

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

GOP health care so far: 22 million Lose Insurance, 20% Increase in Premiums, Insurers Leaving Individual Market. Nice!

There is no tweak, amendment, or new plan that will change the devastating impact of the GOP Trumpcare/Ryancare debacle. And today, the CBO confirmed to everyone that Trump and Trump alone controls the fate of the Affordable Care Act's Marketplaces.

Uncertainty has forced many insurers out of the individual market completely. In those markets where insurers pulled out completely, Republicans wrongly assumed no one else would step in and take their place, ignoring just how markets work. Doh!

The new CBO report offers up even more bad news for Republicans, including every American who's life depends on being insured.
If President Donald Trump stops cost-sharing reduction payments to insurers participating in the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges, premiums for individual plans would go up 20% on average, according to new analysis released on Tuesday by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Joint Committee on Taxation.

Trump himself has great power over whether the ACA survives, and one of the ways to help “Obamacare victims,” a term Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have used, is to guarantee these cost-sharing reduction payments to insurers, instead of threatening to stop them.

The Office’s findings underscore that Trump has control of the costs of these health insurance premiums. Many insurers that exited the marketplaces said they did so because of uncertainty over whether they would receive the cost-sharing payments.

“The most important thing that the president and the Republican senators can do is to ensure the funding for the cost-sharing reductions continues,” Dr. Mario Molina, former CEO of Molina Healthcare, told Yahoo Finance in July. “[Trump] has funded those on a month-to-month basis with no assurance they will continue. This is causing a lot of destabilization in the marketplace.”

For the insurers that have elected to stay on the exchanges to offer plans, many premiums were set in a similar ballpark to the CBO’s 20% as the insurers sought to hedge should the payments stop.

Trump Explodes...goes all White Nationalist "Many Sides" to Blame.

This is the end of Trump presidency, and if it isn't, boy have we lowered the bar.

Trump's infrastructure press conference went off the rails so quickly that even the press couldn't keep up with it. What we did find out was Trump's second message about Charlottesville was a total lie.

I added the incredible pundit reaction at the end of  Trump's rant. Watch and be amazed:

More to come...this was a meltdown. David Duke just tweeted 

Or this from conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin about defending the supposed "historical" statues erected in the 60's:

Vice News/HBO's Charlottesville documentary's eye opening look at White Nationalist Rise!

The incredibly timely video below is a must see that reveals the twisted thinking of the white nationalist movement. All but ignored by the Trump administration, the alt right leaders now have an opportunity to become a legitimate destabilizing political player in our country.

Add to that the news that Trump official Sebastian Gorka's wife helped set the white nationalists free from Homeland Security oversight program CVE, we've got a real problem on our hands:
Controversial Trump Aide Katharine Gorka Helped End Funding For Group (Life After Hate) That Fights White Supremacy. The day after Trump won the election, Sebastian Gorka said, “I predict with absolute certitude, the jettisoning of concepts such as CVE (Countering Violent Extremism).”

The DHS had awarded the Life After Hate $400,000 as part of its Countering Violent Extremism program in January, just days before former President Barack Obama left office. It was the only group selected for a grant that focused exclusively on fighting white supremacy. But the grant money was not immediately disbursed. DHS and the FBI warned in an internal intelligence bulletin of the threat posed by white supremacy. White supremacists “were responsible for 49 homicides in 26 attacks from 2000 to 2016 … more than any other domestic extremist movement,”
Vice News, to the outlet's immense credit, was on the ground to document the events in Charlottesville this weekend. They even embedded, for a time, with white supremacist leader Chris Cantwell. What they found speaks for itself, but keep an eye out for the little things. Like, say, how many guns these white supremacists have.

Here's John Oliver's commentary on Trump's "on many sides" debacle:

Monday, August 14, 2017

Foxconn a done very bad deal...

There was always just a little hope that state Democrats would reverse many of Scott Walker policies someday. But with Foxconn, it won't really matter much anymore.

GOP Myth Finally put to Rest
The Foxconn debacle is not reversible, plundering all future budgets for decades with payouts to Foxconn, and sticking taxpayers with huge interest payments on Walker's transportation debt.

Upfront with Mike Gousha's guests DOA's Sec Scott Neitzel and WEDC Sec Mark Hogan confirmed that Sunday, gushing endlessly about the miracle of high tech LCD manufacturing that is already being fazed out by OLED and "surface-conduction electron-emitter display (SED) or field emission display (FED) making their way to replace the first flat screen technologies in picture quality."

Department of Administration Sec. Scott Neitzel could barely breathe talking up the Foxconn taxpayer holdup. Hey, Foxconn only made $145 billion last year, isn't it obvious they need some help.

News flash for Neitzel; while Wisconsin gets "high-end systems engineers who can operate robots, artificial intelligence and state-of-the-art automation systems (on an) assembly line" at a manufacturing plant (already being threatened by robotic replacements or H-1B Visa's), Foxconn is working on another deal in Michigan, where they want to set up a research facility for the development of new technologies. Screwed again:
Taiwan's Foxconn will open a multibillion-dollar research and development plant in Michigan focused on autonomous vehicles, said Foxconn founder Terry Gou.
"Automotive development in the U.S. is still more advanced than China," Gou was quoted as saying. "Besides self-driving technology, I'm also interested in artificial intelligence and deep learning technology." 

Gousha: "What would be the message if for some reason this deal got bogged down, and didn't happen..."

Hogan: "'s not going to happen Mike...but I don't see that'll get through the Assembly, it'll get through the Senate because they want it, they want the right thing to happen."
The fact that the Senate and Assembly will not be putting in writing, anything that would stand in the way of the utopian handshake deal Walker made with Foxconn, as stated by WEDC's Mark Hogan -"We wouldn't look to do that," pretty much nailed it for me. Gousha rightfully appeared shocked by the lack of concern WEDC and the DOA had for taxpayers. How sellouts like Neitzel and Hogan kept from drooling for 10 minutes is anybodies guess:

And then there's this even more nerve-racking possibility, that never really ever goes away... 

Check out the continuing coverage of this interview here....
Walker administration officials: Foxconn analysis doesn’t tell the whole story of benefits and risks
WEDC's former leader Governor Scott Walker, who was relieved of his duties for mismanagement, still thinks his failed public/private development corporation will stay on top of Foxconn job creation. Fat chance. Here's WKOW's Greg Neumann report from last week, and by the way...:

This article just came out...Foxconn jobs created? Less...under the best case scenario...
The long-term ripple effect of a display screen factory planned for southeastern Wisconsin would create between 4,000 and 10,000 fewer jobs than previously estimated, a new study has concluded ... employ 3,000 initially and as many as 13,000 in the coming years.

EY previously calculated that another 22,200 jobs would be created outside the Foxconn plant at suppliers and other businesses such as restaurants, for a total of 35,200. Baker Tilly, on the other hand, figured that a Foxconn plant would create between 12,000 and 18,100 jobs outside the factory, for a total of between 25,000 and 31,100.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Trump lets Charlottesville stew in White Supremacist Protests....

The fact that Trump has not reacted to or tweeted anything about the white supremacist protests, but Melania did said it all...

Trump probably wanted to miss an opportunity to come out against white supremacy, a large part of his base, but didn't missed an opportunity to retweet his support of the alt right...
CNN: Donald Trump's penchant for retweets once again raised eyebrows, after he recirculated a tweet on Friday from a user with the handle "WhiteGenocideTM."

The profile -- with about 2,300 followers -- used the name "Donald Trumpovitz," linked to a website containing a pro-Adolf Hitler documentary, featured a background photo with red lettering saying "Get the F--- Out of My Country" and had a location of "Jewmerica." The account also includes a photo of George Lincoln Rockwell, founder of the American Nazi Party.
Tom Tomorrow insightfully gave us this...

Voxdotcom put the following video together...
Unite the Right, the violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, explainedThe “alt-right” rally was a coming-out party for resurgent white nationalism in America.
Along with this brutal violence:

The innocent victim of the terrorist attack...

Self-described “pro-white” activist Jason Kessler organized the rally to protest the planned removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from a park in Charlottesville. Kessler is affiliated with the “alt-right” movement that uses internet trolling tactics to argue against diversity and “identity politics” — part of a broader cultural backlash that helped elect Donald Trump.

But the rally quickly attracted other more traditional groups of white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and the Ku Klux Klan.

The rise of the alt-right is one face of a broader backlash against “identity politics” and “political correctness,” which have left some white Americans feeling that they’re losing ground to nonwhites — or that America is losing its identity — and that political, economic, and media elites are either uninterested in defending their heritage or actively trying to eradicate it.

But racist rhetoric has become a hallmark of the movement, from the use of “cuck” to deride anti-alt-right conservatives to Twitter harassment of Jewish journalists by photoshopping them into images of Nazi gas chambers.

That crosses the line into ideologies that most Americans agree are taboo. People may believe that Donald Trump supporters aren’t necessarily racists, but they are willing to agree that members of the Klan and Nazis are racists. Indeed, it’s a contrast with those groups that allows some people to draw the line between “real racism” and liberals “crying wolf” about racism.
 Who can forget the perfectly innocent, inside supremacist joke and Trump Nazi salute?

Or Trump's inability to criticize his white supremacist Nazi base...the fact he read his carefully crafted statement is a dead giveaway:

As Mother Jones magazine reported back in April....

Some Republicans don't feel comfortable hiding behind the Trump racist bluster:

The ultimate is Trump's new "many sides" do it meme, an intentional expansion on the idea that "both sides do it."

Look for the "Make America Great Again" hat and Trump garb symbols....

These whiny oppressed white boys think they've been oppressed? This tweet stream disagreed:

Friday, August 11, 2017

Republican Repeal and Replace schemes repeat of Failed Polices of the Past.

I've always thought of legislation as a show of values, especially the initial first draft, before saner heads prevail. And so it is again with another idea being floated by Sens. Bill Cassidy and Lindsey Graham. You know there's a problem right off the bat if "little dictator" Scott Walker signs off on the deal:

Imagine the governor holding each and every citizen hostage over their health care, that's what this means.

You’ll also notice in the Cassidy-Graham proposal below that if you are anything but a Republican living in a red state, you most certainly don’t count. You lost, winner take all, including your health insurance:
“We need to let states take care of themselves and give power back to patients,” Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) wrote in a recent op-ed for the Washington Post. “Let a blue state do a blue thing and a red state such as mine take a different, conservative approach.”

The proposal would eliminate the subsidies for private insurance and end the Medicaid expansion ... marketplaces would no longer exist ... The federal government would convert some (but not all) of that spending into a lump-sum payment to states. States could choose to spend this money on providing insurance — or they could use it to fund high-risk pools, or do other activities to pay the bills of patients with high medical needs. 
But this new Cassidy-Graham bill would not allow a state like California to keep the Affordable Care Act in place unless it wanted to kick in significantly more money. Here’s why:
1. The complex funding formula used to divvy up the big pot of money would tilt more funding toward sparsely populated states ... than those with denser, more urban populations.

2. It would also take the current Medicaid expansion spending from the 30 states that participate in the program and divvy it up among all 50 states. For a place like Texas, which has not expanded Medicaid, this would be a windfall ... but California would be dramatically disadvantaged.

3. Cassidy-Graham includes a requirement that insurance plans accept all applicants regardless of preexisting conditions. 

4. Ends the two policies: the mandate to purchase coverage and the tax subsidies to make coverage affordable ... little incentive for those who are relatively healthy to purchase plans. 

The key points; no mandate or incentives to be insured, and a requirement to accept preexisting conditions. As explained below, this is an old failed idea we may be doomed to repeat on a national level. This also proves historically that politicians in the House and Senate never had a clue about how average Americans got their health care coverage in the past, or for that matter, even now in the Marketplaces: 
States have experimented with this combination of policies before. In the 1990s, Washington state ended preexisting conditions without a mandate or subsidies. Seattle Times journalist Carol Ostrom recounted what happened next:
1. Without any leverage to bring healthy people onto insurance rolls, insurers, left with the priciest patients, began a financial death spiral.

2. Ultimately, companies pulled out of the individual market and almost no one in Washington could buy an individual policy for any price.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Cash Aid to the Poor Huge Success!!!

I keep coming back to something Milton Friedman once proposed, a minimum income tax check to every American earning under a certain amount. He called it a negative income tax. It was crazy right? Here's Friedman's thinking:

Friedman's experiment would be impossible to pass legislatively, since Republicans are going in the opposite direction, making it almost impossible to get support by requiring drug tests, work requirements and time limits.

Kenya and Zambia Leading the Way: A variation of Friedman's idea is now taking off, slowly, but showing surprising success. Still, there are those who still think the waste factor and lazy people will make the whole thing impossible to carry out. There's a hope that two successful program experiments in Kenya and Zambia might start changing peoples minds. Here's the audio from NPR:
GiveDirectly announced that it will give every adult in this impoverished village in Kenya an extra $22 each month for the next 12 years — with no strings attached. The money is wired to bank accounts linked to each villager's phone.

GiveDirectly has actually been advocating for this kind of cash aid for the past decade. Founded by four grad students in economics who wanted to challenge traditional aid, the charity has already given $65 million to people across Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda, provided by a mix of Silicon Valley foundations and ordinary citizens who contribute through GiveDirectly's website. And GiveDirectly has shown through rigorous, independent study that people don't waste the money.

Some of the world's foremost researchers of anti-poverty strategies will be doing an independent study of the data that emerges.
Zambia recently ran a bold experiment: Instead of giving poor people traditional aid — seeds, or a cow or job training — officials handed out cash, with no strings attached.

GiveDirectly wants to see what happens when you give extremely poor people a much longer runway — a guaranteed "basic income" they can count on for years. Michael Faye, the chairman of GiveDirectly, says they've chosen to set the payment at $22 because in Kenya $22 per person per month is "the food poverty line — the amount of money it would take to afford a basic basket of food for yourself."

Democratic Sen. Vinehout on Foxconn: "Should (we give) a great deal of money to one company?"

Scott Walker is willing to toss Wisconsin's future into utter chaos just so he can keep his own job. That's the basic truth here.

Remember, this is the guy who said he wanted to be president so he could wreak havoc in Washington, not exactly a plan most mature adults were looking for. Yet what else could explain his lack of concern after learning about the 25 year break even point for the massive taxpayer giveaway to Foxconn?

25 years!!! 25 years ago we didn't have any large screen TV's, just the big tubed half ton televisions like the one pictured here. 

So imagine what the display market will look like a quarter of a century from now.

Back in 1997, plasma TV's hit the market and consumers lapped it up. They were replaced 13 years later by LCD TV's. Now think 25 years from now...
1. "In the 2010s, plasma displays have been discontinued by numerous manufacturers." 

2. Recently released technologies like organic light-emitting diode(OLED) and not-yet released technologies like surface-conduction electron-emitter display (SED) or field emission display (FED) are making their way to replace the first flat screen technologies in picture quality.
Republicans Huddle to Play Down the Legislative Fiscal Bureau Report: Reactions to the report? Not available! Did the Republicans take seriously the CBO report about their free market health care plan that dropped 22 million people? Of course not.

Expect talk about helping "the whole state" and bringing the digital age to Wisconsin (a little late on that one guys) to reach ridiculous levels as Republicans struggle to convince those now hapless "left behind" rural voters to vote for them again:

new analysis released Tuesday by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau shows: 

1. Taxpayers would pay to Foxconn Technology Group about $1 billion more than the state received in tax revenues during the first 15 years of the project.

2. The state would start to recoup those payments starting in 2043 — or a quarter of a century after the project starts (based on 13,000 jobs).

3. The more out-of-state workers that commute to the plant, the further away the break-even date will be.

4. The Foxconn project would likely take $15 million out of the next two-year spending plan’s general fund and more than $522 million in the following two-year state budget.

5. Fiscal bureau director Bob Lang warned that any cash-flow analysis that covers a nearly 30-year time frame must be considered “highly speculative, especially for a manufacturing facility and equipment that may have a limited useful life.”

6. Annual payroll for the proposed campus would reach $703.4 million annually — nearly $100 million less than what Department of Administration Secretary Scott Neitzel estimated at the bill hearing last week.

7. Another bill provision to rebuild and expand I-94 in the area of the proposed campus would cost about $408 million in principal and interest re-payments between 2019 and 2042, according to an estimate from the state Department of Administration.

8. Fiscal estimates also show provisions exempting Foxconn from sales taxes on construction materials and equipment would result in $139 million the company would not need to pay. Local governments would have gotten about $10.7 million in revenue if the exemptions were not in place and Foxconn created the same campus at the same size investment, the estimates show.
Leaving Rural Republicans Behind...Again. Fool Me Once...: The most most obvious con that desperately tries to kiss up to the rural supporters is the empty claim the whole state will benefit:
A Foxconn-commissioned analysis shows for every 10 jobs created there, 17 jobs would be created elsewhere in the state

Walker in a tweet said, “Foxconn is bigger than just future tax revenues” and that the project would add more than $10.5 billion in payroll to the state economy.
Democratic Grownups ask the Big Questions, should we give so much money to just one company?: You've heard the Scott Walker hype, what about the Democratic perspective? There isn't even a comparison:
State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, D-Alma, says Democrats haven't seen job guarantees in Gov. Walker's Foxconn incentives package.

UpFront with Mike Gousha: The potential number of jobs created, the billions Foxconn will invest and the billions in tax incentives ... “There's definitely a difference between the hype and the small print,” Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, D-Alma, said on the talk show." Vinehout said the details of the deal need to be spelled out to protect against what might happen if Foxconn doesn’t come through.

Vinehout said (promises were) not specified in the bill or the memorandum of understanding with Foxconn signed by Gov. Scott Walker. “If we don't get it, can we get that money back? Looking at the bill we may get it back, we may not get it back, it doesn’t say we shall.”

Jon Peacock, director of the Wisconsin Budget Project, appeared on “Capital City Sunday,” and said he didn't think the government would be able to recoup its investments, as there are not currently “enforceable clawbacks in place.” He was particularly worried for local Tax Increment Finance (TIF) districts ... they “would really be left holding huge debts that they couldn't pay back.”

A recent report by the Wisconsin Budget Project, a self-described nonpartisan nonprofit focused only on the new credits for jobs and capital expenditures the bill would create for Foxconn ... It found that under the “best-case scenario,” wherein Foxconn would create 13,000 jobs that would last over 15 years, the cost to the taxpayer was just over $17,000 per job per year. But in another scenario with only 3,000 jobs lasting 10 years, Wisconsin would pay over $54,000 per job per year ... Foxconn jobs would pay an average salary of $53,875 a year.

Vinehout: “What’s it going to look like to the budget? How much are we going to have to cut schools, and health care, and local government and roads in order to pay for these tax credits? That’s the math that the legislature needs to see.”

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

GOP Deregulation Lunacy gone off the Rails?!!!

I could have tweeted this, but it was just to outrageous not to blog....

The Federal Railroad Administration and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said late last week they are no longer pursuing the regulation that would require testing for the fatigue-inducing disorder that's been blamed for deadly rail crashes in New York City and New Jersey and several highway crashes ... a decision that safety experts say puts millions of lives at risk.

The agencies argue that it should be up to railroads and trucking companies to decide whether to test employees. One railroad that does test, Metro-North in the New York City suburbs, found that 11.6 percent of its engineers have sleep apnea.

The decision to kill the sleep apnea regulation is the latest step in President Trump's campaign to drastically slash federal regulations.

Walker Republicans promise to Reshape Education in State to fill Foxconn Factory Jobs!!!

Foxconn drooling big government Republican's now want to meddle with public education, seeing little use in "certain fields that have little demand or relevance."

Todays jaw dropping Republican comment comes from the ever reliable stooge of the state Senate Duey Stroebel, who seems to think economic vitality starts and ends with Foxconn:
Stroebel: “The University of Wisconsin System needs to prioritize ‘needs and wants. UW needs to start investing current resources into increasing faculty and staff for engineering, supply chain and computer science degrees. Perhaps the System should look at decreasing capacity in certain fields that have little demand or relevance.”

Stroebel wasn't the only one suggesting a big government Republican takeover of public education and it's diverse curriculum, tossing aside egg-headed course developers efforts to improve student outcomes. 

Here's Rep. John Nygren promising to change education in the state so Foxconn can fill it's factories. Too bad for those who had other plans. Upfront with Mike Gousha:
Nygren: "We're actually going to have to reshape how we provide education, the type of education we provide so we can fill these jobs in our state." 

At the recent special session authorizing a Foxconn "electronics manufacturing zone," one Wisconsinite pretty much summed up the very noticeable rabid GOP response:

And the Packers comparison didn't end there either, with this idiotic "just  like the Packers" comparison:
"To me, much as Reggie White transformed the Green Bay Packers, we’ll see the same here," Walker told Green Bay-area conservative radio host Jerry Bader.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Real Americans say Statue of Liberty now relic of the Past.

As Gov. Scott Walker sets up Wisconsin's budgetary straight jacket for the next 15 years in corporate welfare to Foxconn, Trump is about to set up economic failure for the upcoming 3rd generation of Americans creating businesses and jobs. The Street:
Moody's Analytics economist Mark Zandi in a recent interview with TheStreet said, "If the bill were to become law, it would render next-to-impossible Trump's already lofty goals for economic growth. The White House has set a goal of achieving 3% economic growth through a mix of tax reform, deregulation and other measures. Most economists say immigration would be a key contributor to achieving that mark."
Or this stark reality check:
"We've achieved 3% growth in the past partly when assisted by rapid population growth, and favorable demographics," University of Michigan economist Justin Wolfers told TheStreet recently. "We are certain that both will be headwinds over the next few decades, as fertility has slowed, immigration looks likely to decline, and as the baby boomers enter retirement. And all of this occurs against a backdrop of relatively weak productivity growth, and with an economy that is closing in on full employment."
From NPR's On Point and Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics:
Big changes pushed yesterday by the Trump administration on American immigration. Profound changes, if they go through. Legal immigration to be slashed by half. Family connections downgraded as a priority. New priorities? Education, English, high-paying job offers. Would your family have made that cut? The Trump White House says this would be great for American workers. Others say no.

Guest: "The president back in January when he made his first address to Congress, sited a study from the National Academy of Sciences...that found that first generation immigrants cost taxpayer $57.4 billion a year, what he left out was that second generation immigrants are a net positive $30 billion, and by the third generation, it's a $220 billion benefit to the country."
You have to check out the context of the CNN Jim Acosta/Stephen Miller dispute in full, no edits to understand how big a conniving monster Miller really is:

Acosta: “This whole notion of ‘well, they have to learn English before they get to the United States,’ are we just going to bring in people from Great Britain and Australia?"

Miller: “Jim, it’s actually—I have to honestly say I am shocked at your statement that you think that only people from Great Britain and Australia would know English.  It’s actually—it reveals your cosmopolitan bias to a shocking degree that in your mind—No, this is an amazing moment.  
The way Miller leaned into the word "cosmopolitan" while answering Acosta has a long and ignoble history in 20th century authoritarianism, especially the anti-Semitic variety. During World War II, for example, the Soviet government under Stalin used to rail regularly at "rootless cosmopolitanism," especially in the arts. The Nazis were fond of tossing it around, too. There is no context in which Miller's use of the word against Acosta makes sense except as a historical signaling device.
As for the Statue of Liberty’s poem:
Miller brushed off Acosta’s reference, arguing that the poem written by Emma Lazarus was “added later” and has no significance. 
“I don’t want to get off into a whole thing about history here, but the Statue of Liberty is a symbol of liberty and lighting in the world; it’s a symbol of American liberty lighting the world. The poem that you’re referring to was added later. It’s not actually part of the Statue of Liberty.”
Again, as Charlie Pierce pointed out:
Miller doesn't know dick about Emma Lazarus and the Statue of Liberty. She wrote the poem, "The New Colossus," from which the famous lines on the Statue of Liberty's pedestal were taken in 1883 for the purpose of raising funds for … wait for it … the Statue of Liberty.
As for limiting all legal immigration by half, which I think is a generous estimate after looking at the new standards…think of it as generations of restocking white Americans to get back their super majority:
Acosta’s protestations are revealed in the White House transcript of the briefing but barely audible in footage of the press conference. However, the bizarre and hostile back and forth reached its crescendo after the CNN journalist said it seemed the White House was “trying to engineer the racial and ethnic flow of people into this country.”

Miller: “Jim, that is one of the most outrageous, insulting, ignorant, and foolish things you’ve ever said, and for you that’s still a really—the notion that you think that this is a racist bill is so wrong and so insulting."
Here's a graph that should show Miller and Trump just what Americans really think about the Lady Liberty poem. Remember, back in 2011, this poll question was out-of-left-field, because most Americans never thought much of it...until now:

One of the weirdest qualifications needed to get into the U.S. is this...Chicago Tribune:
Record of extraordinary achievement: zero. Trump may have starred in a network reality show and (allegedly) sunk 30-foot putts, but what counts as "extraordinary achievement" is limited to two categories.

One is winning a Nobel Prize or comparable recognition in a science or social science field.  

The other is recently winning an Olympic medal (individual event only, no relays!) or placing first in another comparable international athletic event.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Taxpayer Dollars to Foxconn, a company that made $140.55 billion last year?

It's important to understand how Scott Walker and Paul Ryan are the biggest sops for "crony capitalism" ever, and how Wisconsin taxpayers will be unmercifully fleeced under the guise of their twisted vision of "free markets," bringing Foxconn to the state. Here's the definition, see if you recognize any part of it...:
Crony Capitalism: An economy that is nominally free-market, but allows for preferential regulation and other favorable government intervention based on personal relationships. In such a system, the false appearance of "pure" capitalism is publicly maintained to preserve the exclusive influence of well-connected individuals.
While we need companies like Foxconn to set up shop in Wisconsin, we can't lose sight of how big Foxconn is. We're going to give billions of hard earned taxpayer dollars to Foxconn, after they made $140 billion last year??? Seriously, and they have the nerve to ask??? And Republicans have a problem with helping people buy health insurance with premium subsidies???

NY Times: If Foxconn lives up to its investment commitment and receives the full $3 billion tax break, it will be the fourth-largest incentive deal in United States history, according to Greg LeRoy, executive director of Good Jobs First, a nonpartisan nonprofit research group in Washington that tracks economic development subsidies.
“We can only describe this as a gift from Wisconsin taxpayers to Foxconn shareholders. This is a guaranteed loser for the state.”
Check out this Wisconsin Budget Project analysis:

And there's a reason Foxconn never fulfilled their promises building plants and creating jobs in other states and countries:
Unlike Wisconsin, Foxconn said, other states like Pennsylvania and countries like India and Indonesia had not given the company the incentives it considers necessary to make the projects work.
NOTE: There's a reason Scott Walker is drooling over the deal; he can use taxpayer money to cinch his reelection by bringing Foxconn to Wisconsin. Who needs campaign cash?

Foxconn's Crony Capitalism is Back with a Vengeance: Back in May of 2016, I wrote this:

What was Paul Ryan's most recent political con: Ripping on crony capitalism. He said that all the while Republican governors were creating crony "capitols" in every red state.
President Barack Obama’s most recent tax overhaul for corporations is just “crony capitalism,” Rep. Paul Ryan says. “It’s a raw deal and I think it’s more crony capitalism. The president likes to pick winners and losers. He lets some businesses off the hook…”

And yet, Ryan's dislike of Crony Capitalism didn't slow him down at all...
Mr. Walker and Mr. Ryan, along with state elected officials, had dinner with Foxconn executives to hammer out details. Aides to Mr. Ryan also lobbied state officials including Robin Vos, the speaker of the Wisconsin assembly, to support an incentive package for Foxconn.
But Ryan wasn't done BS'ing Wisconsin voters. He took a bizarre shot at Obama's failed "trickle down economic" agenda. Yea, you read that right. 

ALERT: Ryan is stating emphatically, trickle down economics doesn't work, the core policy of the Republican Party;
"I think the Federal Reserve has given us, in combination with Obama policies, more regulations, higher taxes, more uncertainty; has given us trickle-down economics ... that growth is not translating down to the middle class. It's not lifting people out of poverty ... This is what we're practicing right now."
It was such a surreal and contradictory statement that even Thomas Frank had to chime in:
WSJ-Thomas Frank: He savages "crony capitalism," pausing to note the "resentment" it is inspiring. Mr. Ryan fondly recalls the great deregulatory campaigns of the past (leaving out the embarrassing story of how he and his colleagues overturned Glass-Steagall and then watched the banking industry explode in a fireball of freedom).

The way to bring big business down is by deregulating even more. If this sounds twisted and counter-intuitive, that's because it is ... the tail-chasing logic behind the "down with big business" rhetoric probably won't make any difference … we may be heading for the greatest burst of fake populism...

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Walker's Reputation for Destroying Middle Class rolls on....

Scott Walker needs Foxconn badly. But it won't change how much he's destroyed the middle class.
Pew Charitable Trusts, through its Stateline blog, has found that the middle class has shrunk in every single state between the years of 2000 and 2013 ... there was truly nowhere to hide from the economic downturn that began in late 2008. The fall in middle class ranks was also accompanied by drops in median income in most states as well.

The clear winner (or loser) in the race to the bottom has been Wisconsin, losing 5.7% of its middle class households since 2000. Average median income has dropped by roughly $9,000 annually, and costs of living have gone up as well. There have also been many political battles that have not worked in the middle class’s favor. Governor Scott Walker gutted many of the state’s unions — which has a big effect on the middle class — and all signs seem to indicate that he will aim to implement similar policies. Like Ohio, Wisconsin’s makeup was particularly vulnerable to a recession, and the proof is in the numbers.

When Premium Prices Sore on ACA Marketplace, you can thank Trump....

Insurance companies quaked with uncertainty and will probably raise premiums to cover their butts after this irresponsible Trump tweet:

Which prompted this reaction from Bernie Sanders, which by the way, should be everyone's reaction:
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., accused President Trump of wanting to “sabotage” the Affordable Care Act. 
“You know, I really think it’s incomprehensible that we have a president of the United States who wants to sabotage health care in America, make life more difficult for millions of people who are struggling now to get the health insurance they need and to pay for that health insurance.”
Not to mention increasing costs substantially for Americans on the exchange and in the individual market.

Sadly, Sanders still hasn't fine tuned the message around single payer; it's virtually impossible to create little independent single payer islands in the U.S.. He should have known better. It has to be all or nothing, maybe a system that utilizes insurance companies to administer the system like Medicare and Medicare Advantage. 

Attempts have failed in the past because the costs are too high when a state is working alone, and prices for care can't be standardized lower using the power of the entire U.S. population. And that's the big difference, which is why Jake Tapper didn't get it either and asked the following question:
Sanders said he planned to introduce single-payer health care legislation now that Republicans efforts at health care reform failed. However when pressed by “State of the Union” host Jake Tapper on how single-payer could be passed nationally after failed attempts in California and his home state of Vermont, Sanders admitted, “Politically, this is difficult.”
“Look, taking on the insurance companies and the drug companies, taking on Wall Street, taking on a lot of very powerful forces that make billions of dollars a year from the current health care system is not going to be easy. And it’s not going to take place until millions of people get involved in this struggle and appreciate the fact that whether you’re rich or whether you are poor, health care is a right.”

Conservative Hypocrite Tomi Lahren joins long list of clueless Repeal ObamaCare beneficiaries.

Conservatives have a bizarre unexplainable disconnect from reality, that I believe acts as a defense mechanism against what I call "inadvertent hypocrisy." 

Take the Republican attempt at health care reform, otherwise known as tax cuts for the wealthy. It's the ultimate in a massive big government bureaucracy with burdensome regulatory hoops to jump through for every possible health care need, like Medicaid eligibility and high risk pools. "Inadvertent hypocrisy." 

Or how about staying on your parents health care plan until you're 26, while still complaining about the horrors of "ObamaCare." "Inadvertent hypocrisy."

The cell phone clip below is from a conservative audience member. I'm mentioning that because the guy who recorded this, loudly proclaimed his allegiance to Trump throughout the video, except during the Tomi Lahren/Chelsea Handler exchange featured here. Coincidence? Just wanted you to keep that in mind: 

Crooks and Liars: Tomi Lahren, conservative mouthpiece who was fired from The Blaze after her pro-choice comments, was invited to chat with Chelsea Handler ... she also dropped this poorly timed sentence:
Chelsea Handler: "So do you have a health care plan?"

Tomi Lahren: “Luckily, I am 24, so I am still on my parents’ plan.”
That line drew loud boos from the crowd at her insane hypocrisy. Duh. Does she even think before she speaks? She is sitting there bashing the *very* program that allows her to actually retain insurance after she was fired just a few months ago ... Tomi, you should be thanking Obama.
A few quick comebacks that Democrats should hammer home, for people like Tomi Lahren:
1. Comparing universal health care to VA health plan: Sorry, but try comparing our private system to every other country in the world with a national health care plan, skip trashing the VA.

2. There are waiting lines in Canada and other Countries: There are waiting lines in the U.S., we're not different. Anyone try seeing a dermatologist lately for that cancerous looking sore on your arm?

3. Every State is So Different: No, the people in those states aren't any different than humans in every other state. Same biology, same health care needs, same diseases. They aren't different in each state.

4. The American People voted, they Don't Want ObamaCare, elections have Consequences: Ah, Americans didn't know what Republicans were going to offer as a replacement, and they didn't vote for any one of the quickly cooked up "plans" over lunch on napkins, or in a back room with no public input. That's a huge difference.
It's Always Someone Else's Fault: Remember how Republicans said Bush policies failed because he wasn't conservative enough? Well, the same will be said about Trump and...Scaramucci, because they both weren't just conservative enough, they were once "liberals." Once liberals is the key, meaning they are now Republicans. Period.

I don't have the video, but here's the transcript from Variety:
The pair did seem to come to an agreement on one thing — Anthony Scaramucci, Trump’s incoming communications director. When Lahren defended Trump’s staff selections and those he surrounds himself with, one person in the audience shouted, “Scaramucci.”
Lahren: “He’s a former liberal, so he is one of yours.”

Handler: “Well, you can have him."

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Foxconn Con? The Wonders of the Free Market!

Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see the Foxconn jobs deal work, it's just that there are so many questions, and so much of our tax dollars tied into the deal. One thing for sure, it was all about narcissist Trump: 

Think about it. Bloomberg Businessweek:
Wisconsin is about to shell out as much as $3 billion for the privilege of luring Foxconn Technology Group. At $519 per citizen, it would have been cheaper to buy an iPhone for every man, woman and child in the midwestern state.

There's a hard reality about corporate welfare; Republicans love to pick winners and losers, taxpayer money for business is a heck of a lot better than helping Americans when they need it, and there is no such thing as a "free market." Pretty simple to figure out, thanks to Foxconn:
Let's take a look at those figures: Wisconsin is paying as much as $1 million per job, which will carry an average salary of $54,000. The state's economic development corporation is selling the project to taxpayers with a claim that it will create 10,000 construction jobs for building the facility and another 6,000 indirect positions. It's expecting $3.3 million of investment per employee from the Taiwanese company.

Politicians, lobbyists and Foxconn can make the figures work by being generous with the facts. For example, if every one of those jobs came to fruition, they can claim 29,000 positions for $3 billion, or $103,000 per job. But that's not going to happen.

Foxconn has factories in China and another dozen countries globally, yet that stated $10 billion investment is more than the group's publicly traded flagship -- Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. -- has devoted to capital expenditure over the past five years combined.

If billionaire chairman Terry Gou really does dish out $10 billion on this facility, the only way to make it viable is by keeping staffing low ... This LCD factory will be either labor intensive or highly automated. It can't be both.  
Empty Promises? We were warned...
Gou signed a deal with the government of Jakarta, Indonesia's capital and its biggest city, to invest $1 billion and employ local workers to make electronics. That never happened. Neither did a $30 million high-tech factory in Pennyslvania that was announced a year earlier. Just this past year, Foxconn is reported to have pledged investments of $5 billion in India; $3.65 billion in Kunshan, China; and $8.8 billion in Guangzhou. It's too early to know if those sums will ever be spent, but including Wisconsin, the tally now stands at $27.5 billion of commitments. That's more than Hon Hai has spent in the last 23 years.

Terry Gou didn't get where he is today by blithely spending money on huge factories. Instead, he's learned to entice leaders into thinking big, and then letting them pay. Wisconsin shows that Foxconn isn't building the American Dream -- America is building the Foxconn machine.

And not surprisingly, Walker takes his shot again at destroying the Wisconsin environment:
1. Exempt the project from an environmental impact statement. The state Department of Natural Resources conducts impact statements for large projects, with recent examples including the proposed golf course by the Kohler Co.

2. Allow the company or its contractors to discharge dredged material and fill into wetlands without state permits, though federal permits could still be required. The legislation would also exempt Foxconn from a requirement that companies try to avoid filling wetlands when possible, though the firm would have to restore wetlands elsewhere if it did.

3. Let the company build on a riverbed or lakebed, connect artificial bodies of water with natural waterways and change the course of streams without getting state permits. The Foxconn plant is expected to need large amounts of water from Lake Michigan.

4. Exempt the project from having to get certain approvals from the Public Service Commission, authorize lower utility rates for Foxconn for at least 10 years and allow transmission lines to be relocated without state approval.