Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Scott Walker not really into Wisconsin!

If you are one of those anti-government types, then what Scott Walker is doing makes perfect sense to you; its just politics, where the ends justify the means, people get hurt but that's life.  

But when policy ignores growing state problems, we've got a problem. Here's a quick rundown of ignored problems any responsible governor would be on the front lines facing, and proactively solving...except Walker. Could he even acknowledgment or show just a little concern?

We're the dairy state for god's sake:

JS: Dairy farming has been Kyle Kurt's livelihood, and his passion, since he graduated from Lodi High School 18 years ago. But come Monday, he's having an auction to sell his cows, his milking equipment, his tractors and other farm machinery that he's spent years acquiring. “It’s probably the toughest decision I have ever had to make,” Kurt said. "Something's got to change or the small farms are going to be gone."

Scores of Wisconsin farmers are in a similar predicament. And with them, a way of life that has defined much of the state for more than a century and a half is disintegrating. 

Entire communities are falling apart as small farms go under, said John Peck, executive director of Family Farm Defenders, a Madison based advocacy group. Grain mills, car dealerships and hardware stores suffer. The local tax base erodes. Churches and schools struggle or close. “The multiplier effect on the rural economy is huge. It’s why you are seeing all these boarded-up small towns,” Peck said.

Wisconsin lost 500 dairy farms in 2017, and about 150 have quit milking cows so far this year, putting the total number of milk-cow herds at around 7,600 — down 20% from five years ago. Federal court data shows the Western District of Wisconsin had the highest number of Chapter 12 farm bankruptcies in the nation in 2017. Some farmers cover up taking their own life by making it look like a farm accident, said Joel Greeno, president of Family Farm Defenders and a farmer near Kendall in southwest Wisconsin.
Rural Broadband? Walker in No Rush: Remember this...
The state is turning down $23 million because state taxpayers would have been on the hook for the entire amount if the state could not meet the grant's precise requirements, Mike Huebsch, secretary of the state Department of Administration, said.
Blind to Business Opportunities, Walker spends dwindling state taxpayer money: There's no rush, nothing wrong with almost being last in the nation:
Wisconsin ranks 49th among states and the District of Columbia in the average download internet speed for a wired connection, according to the report from Speedtest, a Seattle technology firm.
WHA: Ask Dan Corbin how badly northern Wisconsin needs broadband internet, and he’ll tell you some residents in his town are still using dial-up. The chairman for the Town of Summit said residents have yet to see the expansion of broadband service to rural areas of Douglas County and the City of Superior ... Superior residents are paying the same monthly rate as residents of La Crosse for slower internet service. Northern Wisconsin officials also expressed concern over discrepancies between the speeds that providers advertise are available and what service is reflected on the FCC’s broadband map.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is committed to improving access, Dickison said. He held listening sessions

In rural areas, it’s about $8,000 per subscriber, said Jeff Lee, operations director at Norvado in Cable, Wis., which has been working with fiber optic cable installations since 1983 ... With fiber optic cable and copper hardline so expensive to install across long distances, wireless options are being considered … fixed wireless also rely on sending data over short distances, and can't handle "high data" activities, like video streaming, very well.

The Wall Street Journal reports, approximately 39 percent of the rural population in the country, about 23 million people, don't have "fast" internet, which is defined as having the speed to support "email, web surfing, video streaming, and graphics for more than one device at once," the Journal writes. On the other hand, only 4 percent of urban dwellers lack fast internet. Former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler concluded that Americans should have access to both fast home Internet and mobile broadband.
Walker's Coal Dust Kids: Imagine a thin film of coal dust on everything around you. How safe, how healthy, how nervous would you feel daily?

In 2008 before he was governor, he signed the Koch-backed “No Climate Tax Pledge,” by Americans for Prosperity, that he will oppose any legislation relating to climate change—presumably a cap-and-trade plan or a carbon tax—that would result in a “net increase in government revenue.”Walker has argued, based on a study funded by the coal company Peabody Energy, that the new rules are “unworkable” because they would be too expensive for manufacturers and residents.

Urban Milwaukee: You might call Walker the King of Coal. Just nine states in America are more dependent on coal than Wisconsin. The state now gets 63 percent of its energy from coal, up from about 55 percent when he took office. That’s largely because the Kewaunee nuclear power plant was closed, but it’s also because the state has been asleep on solar and wind power for six years.

Isthmus: Out of step with average voters: 70 percent believe the U.S. should put more emphasis on wind energy production, and 76 percent support increased solar. 60 percent of conservatives support taking action to accelerate clean energy use.

State Parks and Watchtowers crumbling since Scott Walker Eliminated State Funding!!! Sand pit anyone?

Tax surpluses sure sound nice, but the way we got them will haunt Wisconsin for decades and destroy our vibrant parks and tourism industry. 
In 2015, Gov. Scott Walker eliminated state funding for the state park system, more than $4.5 million per year, with the goal that the parks become "self-sustaining."
Well, that didn't work. Big surprise, since state lawmakers were warned similar cuts haven't worked anywhere else in the country. By the way, did you know park and camping fees increased in the last four years?

Republicans are now suddenly backfilling those cuts, by plundering the $10 million operating budget used to run the parks so they can supplement the $1 million already being spent so they can eliminate potential health hazards and replace the parks crumbling infrastructure without falling too far behind. Jakes Wisconsin Funhouse:
An additional $2.2 million would transfer in the 2017-18 fiscal year from the balance of the parks account to the appropriation to be used for parks infrastructure projects ... (replacing) vault toilets in campgrounds ... failing water lines, day-use flush toilet building upgrades, replacement of indoor group camping siding ... ADA-accessible restroom ... renovating plumbing at various shower buildings ... improvements to beach and swimming areas...
Disappearing Watch Towers No Big Deal? If Scott Walker had his way, the watchtowers in many of our state parks that give visitors those majestic views of Wisconsin's incredible countryside...would just disappear forever:

WHA: Visitors to Potawatomi State Park have caught the same view since 1932: a sweeping panorama of Sawyer Harbor, Sturgeon Bay and Green Bay, broken up by miles of green, auburn or yellow forest, depending on the season … the park’s 75-foot-tall observation tower built when Herbert Hoover was president ... the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (will) permanently closed the tower, citing significant wood decay that made the tower unsafe … there are no plans to replace the tower.
Walker has no plan to replace the tower, who cares right, it's not a priority?  And this wasn't the first time a tower would have been lost to time under Walker's watch:

Ironic, former Sen. Frank Lasee voted to defund our state parks, but then became a victim of his own bad policy decision. You can read his pathetic email newsletter response at the bottom of this post. Question; conservative voters trust Republicans to run the government?
Its removal comes just two years after the DNR removed Eagle Tower at Peninsula State Park near Fish Creek. In that case, the DNR also cited decaying wood. But there are plans to replace Eagle Tower. A final design was selected in November, but construction has yet to begin. An independent nonprofit group, Friends of Peninsula State Park, is working to raise half of the funds required for that tower, which would include a ramp.

But some, like state Sen. Robert Cowles, R - Green Bay, are concerned about both the slow pace of the Eagle Tower replacement and the impending removal of the Potawatomi State Park tower. Cowles says the loss of the towers could have a "chilling effect" on local tourism. But he says they’re just a piece of the problem. "I am concerned about the observation tower, but I am also concerned about the broader situation with maintenance of our state parks ... These parks are not to be taken for granted, and I think to a certain extent, our government has done that. And because of that, there’s not enough money to maintain that."

But as Cowles argues, that hasn’t happened. He says the state’s eroding towers and trails, and the need for private funding for a state-owned tower, is proof.
Here's Lasee's email newsletter response from September, 2015...yea, he's a real hero:
On May 20th the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources closed Eagle Tower following an engineering report that highlighted minor structural deficiencies.

Over the past several weeks my office has heard from many constituents and business owners concerned about the DNR’s closure of Eagle Tower and future plans for this historic site. With an economic impact to the local community that totals nearly $37 million, it is essential that all park attractions at Peninsula remain open to the public.

The DNR has not yet made a final decision on the future of Eagle Tower – their initial indications have been negative. To encourage the department to repair or replace Eagle Tower and to show community support, I have scheduled a public listening session I fully support the rehabilitation or, if necessary, replacement of Eagle Tower so that future generations may enjoy this historic site and share in the grandeur of Wisconsin’s State Parks.

Having Eagle Tower closed is unacceptable. With your help we can convince the DNR that Eagle Tower is an irreplaceable local treasure. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Ryan, the wonk genius, spews stupid again....Deficits + "Baby boomers retiring was going to do that" = ?

There's no excuse for the following comment...none. It's a lie and another show of ideological obedience. MSNBC:
Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) says that trillion-dollar deficits could not have been avoided by the GOP-controlled Congress, responding to critics within his party who say that leaders have behaved irresponsibly.

“That was going to happen. The baby boomers retiring was going to do that,” Ryan said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” of projections that the country will start running trillion-dollar deficits as soon as 2020.
Here's what wrote about Wisconsin's embarrassment, Paul Ryan. What he said...:
Ryan: "That was going to happen. The baby boomers’ retiring was going to do that. These deficit trillion-dollar projections have been out there for a long, long time. Why? Because of mandatory spending, which we call entitlements. Discretionary spending under the CBO baseline is going up about $300 billion over the next 10 years. Tax revenues are still rising. Income tax revenues are still rising. Corporate income tax revenues. Corporate rate got dropped 40 percent, still rising."
Which means...he's lying again. At a time when baby boomers were retiring, he's made it almost impossible to save them from certain economic disaster:
Overall, CBO says the new tax law “increases the total projected deficit over the 2018–2028 period by about $1.9 trillion,” mostly because of a reduction in individual income tax revenue and an increase in debt service.

The Myth of the "Fiscal Conservative."

I thought it was funny how Republicans were planning to put the Democrats on the spot for the midterms, by forcing a vote to make the middle-class tax cuts permanent instead of phasing them out to pay for the corporate tax cuts. I guess that passes for strategy these days.

Yet I think most Americans are wise to the scam:
1. The Republican-controlled Congress followed up their corporate tax cuts with a massive omnibus budget that boosts spending past previous budget caps by $300 billion over two years.

2. Most Americans have not noticed a larger paycheck since the law was enacted, according to a CNBC poll released in March.

3. A recent analysis from the pro-reform group Americans for Tax Fairness found that 433 corporations out of the Fortune 500 have not offered any bonuses or wage increase to employees since the passage of corporate tax cuts. Instead, the analysis found, companies spent 37 times as much on stock buybacks.

4. Just 27 percent of Americans think the GOP tax cuts were a good idea, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released on Monday. In other words, the Republican tax plan has actually gotten less popular with voters over time. But popularity was never really the goal, was it? The point was to starve the federal government of tax revenue in order to justify slashing the social safety net — something Republicans in Congress and the White House began to address in earnest last week.

5. On Tax Day 2018, just one week after House Speaker Paul Ryan announced his retirement at the age of 48 — after spending his entire adult life on the government “dole” — Republicans have once again laid bare their true intentions. Passing a deficit-busting tax bill was intended to explode the national debt and thereby endanger future funding for the tattered remnants of the social safety net that survived welfare reform in the 1990s — including Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

Scott Walker's Act 10 and Emergency Teaching License Increases!!! Walker's own "manufactured crisis."

Wisconsin was a leader in vilifying the teaching profession thanks to Act 10, and taking education down a peg or two on accountability:

Teacher Shortages Getting Worse: Act 10 is now collapsing the teaching profession, as predicted, just in time for Scott Walker to run for reelection. It seems rural support might be slipping too, as they scramble to approve referendums and deal with teacher shortages:
In 2015, four years after the law’s collective-bargaining limits reshaped the profession, the smallest group of juniors and seniors in two decades was enrolled in teaching programs at the state’s public universities. Some 25% of school districts are reporting an “extreme shortage” of job-seekers for key positions. Wauwatosa Superintendent Phil Ertl told parents at a meeting: “People are being driven away from the teaching profession. It’s not a lifelong career anymore.”
JS: The “Order of the State Superintendent for Public Instruction Adopting Emergency Rules” (is) causing big concern in perhaps every school district and independent school in Wisconsin … Who’s going to fill the remaining open teaching jobs we have? Are we really getting the best people we feasibly could to work in our classrooms?  
"Not Doing much to Increase the Quality:" This is not the kind of quote you want to hear from a principle when you've got kids in school, like in Bangor, WI.

Beyond Walker's Act 10 Teacher Shortages: The shortages go beyond teachers and their substitutes. And to think, this was all about Walker defunding unions and the Democratic Party to get an edge up in state elections:

Some critics put a considerable amount of the blame on political forces opposed to teachers’ unions and in favor of using public money to pay for private schools. One outspoken advocate of such views is Tim Slekar, dean of the School of Education at Edgewood College in Madison.

He called the teacher shortage “a manufactured crisis” and said that changing licensing requirements “will do nothing except dramatically increase systemic inequity and genuinely harm the teaching profession.”

“Softening teacher license policies or doing away with the license altogether will kill the profession and turn teaching into a low-wage service sector,” Slekar said.
With all this in mind, it seems we're now having to deal with a whole new set of problems. The effect was predictable. And yet, even after the mass longtime teacher retirements:
No known poll has asked Wisconsinites about Act 10 in the months leading up to Walker's statement on April 1, 2014, and his staff did not cite one.

Walker, Republicans trying to turn Wisconsin Scenery into Frac Sand Mining Hellscape.

It can't be this easy for the Scott Walker campaign to go unscathed after what he's done, especially to his rural voting base. Walker's environmental teardown? What the hell do rural voters see in him?

The Walker Hurt-List Grows: Environmentally, Republicans will stop at nothing to privatize, destroy, and turn state land over to any and all business interests. This is ugly:
Road Side Attraction off 94?
DNR Staff Felt Pressure To Approve Wetland Fill For Frac Sand Mining Project. Emails Show Frustration Over Lack Of Information From Company And Tight Deadlines Set By DNR Administration:

A judge will decide if the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources followed the law when it approved the project last year. Atlanta-based Meteor Timber bought 50,000 acres of Wisconsin forestland and became the largest private landowner in the state. After discovering 137 million tons of frac sand on property it purchased the company proposed building a mine.

Emails ... show staff felt rushed to issue the permit even though they didn’t have basic information about the site of Meteor Timber's planned mitigation project ... staff were told to approve the company's permit no matter what and were even told what questions they could ask and what data they could collect. 

The DNR approved Meteor Timber’s application ... That day former DNR Wetland and Waterways Section Chief Martye Griffin sent an email congratulating his team for writing permits for the wetland fill and a creek realignment just two days after getting new information from the company.
What was in the email? You won't believe this...but under Walker, maybe you will:
"For these staff to set aside the questions, uncertainty, and confusion stemming from the new information and cope with the stress and expectation of delivering high performance resulting in not one but two heavily complicated permits written in 48 hours is an achievement that I don't think can be equaled and that achievement should be properly recognized as such," wrote Griffin.
Late-night Behind the Voters Back Scheme: Sneaky trick on constituents?
A real rural friend? 
State Rep. Ron Tusler, R-Harrison, slipped in an amendment to exempt the frac sand project from state wetland regulations into an unrelated wetland bill in a late-night maneuver ... but state Sen. Rob Cowles, R-Green Bay, blocked it from moving to the Senate floor ... On March 28, Tusler tried again to get an exemption for Meteor Timber. This time he tacked his amendment to a Senate bill aiming to make it easier for convicted criminals to get jobs. That bill also died in the Senate. Tusler didn’t respond to requests for comment for this story. Cowles told the Associated Press the attempt to exempt Meteor Timber from state laws was "outrageous."

Friday, April 13, 2018

Steamed Brats?

Ag Schimel appeals to base bragging up scheme to suppress voting.

Scott Walker's simpleton lackey AG Brad Schimel just admitted voter ID was meant to suppress certain targeted voters from casting a ballot. Sometimes these guys forget that everyone can hear them. 

Based on decades of research, we already know our elections were "clean" and "honest," Schimel's slip of the tongue and concluding lie confirms what we already knew...he's a tool:
"We battled to get voter ID on the ballot for the November '16 election," Schimel told conservative host Vicki McKenna on WISN (1130 AM) on Thursday. "How many of your listeners really honestly are sure that Senator (Ron) Johnson was going to win re-election or President Trump was going to win Wisconsin if we didn’t have voter ID to keep Wisconsin’s elections clean and honest and have integrity?"
Funny thing, the "Soros" money used to challenge voter ID laws is simply being used to find out if they're constitutional. What is Schimel or any Republican afraid of? I guess if the money dried up to make these challenges, all would be well? 
He has fought in court to keep the law in place and his opponent, Josh Kaul, is the lead attorney challenging it and a host of other election laws. Kaul "works for George Soros going across the country suing states that have voter ID laws," Schimel said.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Apple sells drooling fans HomePod junk!

The smart speaker market is dominated by the Amazon Echo and Google Home.

And yet Apple had the balls to think their HomePod wasn't just a good idea, but a hands down competitor right out of the gate. LOL.

My god I hate Apple, and here's why. They really thought their HomePod was another great Apple "innovation" that people would just fall in love with?
Three weeks after the HomePod launched, it nabbed only 4 percent of sales.
See if you can spot the problems:
1. The limitations around Siri.

2. It works directly only with Apple Music.

3. The $349 price could also be turning some prospective shoppers off.

4. It doesn't help that the HomePod was found to damage furniture, leaving an unsightly ring. 

Ya think? But those in the Apple bubble have another takeaway:
Apple pitched the device not necessarily as a competitor to Amazon's Echo, but rather as a high-end speaker. Apple has long viewed HomePod as a speaker first and internally viewed the device as an accessory that would work with other Apple products rather than a standalone product.
Oh sure, that's the ticket. 

Republican blames Deficit Explosion on "the thing that Washington always does," not Massive Tax Cuts!

Here they go again. Remember when Republicans distanced themselves from George W. Bush because of the Great Recession and endless wars? They never really liked him I guess.

Republicans Regret Deficit-Increasing Tax Cuts? Yup. Republicans never intended to increase the deficit with their massive tax cuts, believe it or not. Even after the CBO warned them.

Best and Most Embarrassing Tax Cut Walk Back: Republican Rep. Jim Jordan's laughable regret is a wonder to watch:
Jordan: "I'm very bothered by it...yet we did the thing that Washington always does, the swamp always does, we just said let's just spend more money on everything, push the bill off onto someone else in the future. Yea, I'm very concerned about it, every member should be concerned about it. 
Retire nonsensical "Letting People Keep more of the Money" bullshit: Jordan goes over the top justifying the upcoming huge $1.9 trillion dollar deficit by claiming to "let people keep more of their money?" Uh, until they have to pay that and the rest of the debt back?
Jordan: "So I don't buy into the idea that letting the American people keep their money is somehow a cost to the government. I think it is just good policy letting you keep what you earn, letting the economy grow...
...ready for it? Take it away Jim Jordan...
Jordan: "The problem with the deficit and debt is spending, it's not letting people keep their money, it's not tax cuts, it's spending. Those tax cuts are good, they are going to produce better economic growth, we know that, and people are going to keep more of their money...the problem is spending."
And who did the spending? Jordan already said it; the Republican swamp.

Walker's "Unelected Bureaucrats" to Trash Northern Wisconsin's Scenic Water Areas!!!

How many times have you heard Republicans whine about "unelected bureaucrats" making policy? Too many times, I know. So guess what...? 
Ah, the sound and smell
of nature...
WSJ: The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is trying to open up another quiet northern woodland to motorized off-road vehicles. But this time the DNR plans to use a less-formal approach that allows an agency administrator to make the decision rather than running it through the department’s policy board ... (telling) an association of area property owners that an agency administrator would decide whether to approve a trail in the Turtle-Flambeau Scenic Waters Area. That’s a switch from a previously announced plan...
Poof! Can't use "Unelected Bureaucrat" anymore? The party claiming to have a higher calling isn't messing around, and won't be stopped:
Department spokesman Jim Dick (said) “The department is still talking through the master planning process...” Dick didn’t respond when asked specifically ...

A public meeting on the proposed amendment was scheduled, but in a March 15 email the DNR ... canceled and said another would be scheduled ... When members of a lakefront association asked why the change was made, the DNR said in a March 23 email obtained by Bewley’s office that the proposed trail “meets the definition for a variance but not an amendment” based on the state administrative rule that governs park planning.
In other words, "unelected bureaucrats" will decide anyway, for ATV special interests of course, despite public opposition:

The Turtle Flambeau Flowage and Trude Lake Property Owners Association opposed the trail, saying it would run counter to the recreation area’s objective of preserving a natural and scenic landscape.

“We believe that an amendment to this plan to allow for additional motorized trail development would radically alter the entire scope of the management plan and go contrary to the #1 objective,” association president Jeffrey Malison told the DNR in a Jan. 25 letter.
Hear those ATV's Engines Roar: Wouldn't it be great to drive through scenic areas once intended to preserve the states natural habitat and showcase Wisconsin's great outdoors?
The Turtle-Flambeau Scenic Waters Area covers more than 8,000 acres of submerged land and about 200 islands in Iron County near the border with Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The state purchased the land in 1990. It is popular for hiking, primitive camping and fishing for walleye, muskies, bass and perch. The area is home to the state’s largest populations of bald eagle and osprey, the DNR says.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

What Far-Left "Hate" and "Anger?"

Just once I'd like the news media to get a slick politician like Scott Walker to provide an example, just so the voting public can see for themselves, what he considers liberal anger and hate.

Just one example please from any one of the candidates running for governor? Or maybe just one of the candidates running in the special election or upcoming November elections?

Criticism...Hate, eh, it's all the same? We may not be asking Walker about "anger" and "hate" and his campaigns sharp focus on that ol' divide and conquering strategy, but WKOW's Emilee Fannon did question Walker's comment by asking NextGen America's Tom Steyers about it:
Steyer: "There's no anger and there's no hatred involved, in fact, we're trying to pull the country back together."

Steyer defended the tweet by asking when the last time the Koch Brothers were on a college campus.

“When’s the last time the Koch brothers were on a campus and explained what there doing or explain what their spending and how and why. Fact of the matter is that I do believe money is very corrupt in American politics, I personally show up and also make sure everything we do doesn’t benefit me or impact my personal income."
It's easy to see from Steyer's comment above that he's an "extreme billionaire activist" pushing his "far-left" agenda. Those outside billionaire's and their money, what could be worse...?

In an email from Kate Doner, who was raising money for Walker, to Gilkes, Johnson and Walker, she spells out the fundraising plan: “Take Koch's money -Get on a plane to Vegas and sit down with Sheldon Adelson. Ask for $1m now. -Corporations. Go heavy after them to give. -Create new c4. Club for Growth name has issues."
No one wants these outside billionaire activist donors pushing their agenda in Wisconsin...right?
In addition to Adelson, there was business magnate Carl Icahn who was approached for $100,000 though nothing in the files indicates that he donated; the hedge-fund billionaire Stephen Cohen, who arranged a wire transfer of $1m; and Home Depot co-founder Ken Langone who gave $25,000.

Maybe voters are catching on? It's been public knowledge now for a while...

And the money keeps pouring in from out of state:

The Republican Governors Association says it booked the television ads throughout Wisconsin for five weeks leading up to the Nov. 6 election. Walker, who was the group’s chairman in 2017, is running for his third four-year term as governor.
Walker is aware a lot of this has been publically documented...sorry, showing his millionaire/billionaire donor list must be what he calls "hate:"

And about that out-of-touch "far-left" agenda, which must be everything not far-right, the angry special interests must be stopped?

But the American public said...

As for Wisconsinites...

One more thing about Wisconsin's homegrown presidential material....

The Unpredictable John Bolton...

Paul Ryan can't take the heat...quits with huge Taxpayer Funded Pension.

Running from a fight? Yes. Apparently, Paul Ryan can't defend running up huge deficits and then blaming Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

Wonder why? Perhaps the CBO's recent report had something to do with it? Here's Paul Ryan's legacy?

Ryan in retirement? Get 50, Ryan will get his $75,000 taxpayer-funded pension for life. 
...(as Speaker) his annual salary will get a healthy bump from $174,000 to $223,500. The Republican from Wisconsin is worth millions, according to his most recent financial disclosure form.
While Ryan leaves the U.S. in deep debt:
As the House prepares to vote this week on a largely symbolic balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution, its own budget watchdog delivered a stark reality check Monday that forecasts the return of $1 trillion-plus annual deficits and a ballooning public debt that will approach $29 trillion by the end of the next decade. the latest report is the first since the GOP enacted a $1.5 trillion tax cut ... The tax law that President Trump and congressional Republicans passed in December will cut government revenue by $1.3 trillion from 2018 to 2028 ... When the costs of paying interest on that debt are included, the tax cuts’ total addition to the deficit comes to $1.9 trillion,

The national debt is on track to approach 100 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2028, said the nonpartisan CBO, which analyzes legislation for Congress. “That amount is far greater than the debt in any year since just after World War II,” CBO said. The expiration of lower individual tax rates at the end of 2025 will add to slowed economic growth then, the CBO added.

There were $1 trillion deficit spending years most recently under President Barack Obama, primarily due to the economic downturn during the Great Recession, but deficit spending had been decreasing in recent years.

The analysis “confirms that major damage was done” by the new tax law and the spending bill, said Michael Peterson, head of the nonpartisan Peter G. Peterson Foundation. “This high and rising debt matters because it harms our economy,” said Peterson, whose group backs fiscal conservatism.

“During a time of low unemployment and economic expansion, we should be taking reasonable steps to put our debt on a sustainable path – but instead we are piling up trillions of bills,” he said. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Republicans keep Americans from being Happy!

Why do Republicans keep making life more complicated, unbearable, and cruel? It's crazy but Republicans have oddly targeted life's bigger events with Rube Goldberg "solutions." There's got to be a better use of our time.

So "what do Democrats stand for?"

Thanks to the United Nations 2017 World Happiness Report, Democrats can riff off the 3 biggest changes this country can make to make everyone happy again. Look, 19th place is a big drop from 2007's third-place ranking.

Let's help Americans live again:
All of the top 15 countries have progressive/socialist governments whose policies contribute to the contentment of their citizens. The three most significant policies for these countries are:

1. Universal free health care for their citizens.
2. Outstanding free public education.
3. Strong environmental standards and access to public lands such as parks and refuges for their citizens.
Simple, isn't it? But Republicans hate these things, which runs counter to polling:
Health and happiness are inextricably linked. All the top-ranked countries have socialized medicine so that the average citizen doesn’t have to worry about not being able to afford insurance and necessary medical care. The U.S. is the only developed nation in the world without universal health care. Compared to other developed countries U.S. citizens pay far more for their health care, and yet the U.S. ranks near the bottom in quality of their health care. In Costa Rica the death rate for heart disease is one-third less than in the U.S., even though Costa Rica spends one-tenth as much per capita on health care as the U.S.

Quality public education is the great equalizer. With a good education the poor can rise to the top; without it out their opportunities are limited. In Norway, university students draw a government stipend as well as free tuition. Compare that to the U.S. where middle-class students can finish college encumbered with almost insurmountable debt.

People are simply happier and healthier when they live in an environment with clean air and water; all of the top countries have tough, strictly enforced environmental regulations. The top-ranked countries also have large areas of public land set aside for the public to enjoy. Costa Rica has 25 percent of its land set aside as parks and refuges, whereas the U.S. has only 14 percent. Much of the public land in the U.S. is open to mining, oil drilling, logging and livestock grazing, which are not allowed on public lands in the happiest countries.
In summary, the top-ranked countries have a social system that takes care of most people’s needs, leaving them feeling safe, comparatively healthy, and free of most of life’s biggest worries, while providing an environment where most people can make a living.

The U.S. is headed in the wrong direction ... Much of the change can be blamed directly on the impact of the Republican Party on government policies. If you’re still voting Republican you evidently feel that Americans are just too darn happy. If we can just increase American’s anxiety over health care, destroy our public education system, and return to the days when the air in our cities stunk and our rivers were flowing sewers, we can move the U.S. out of the top 50 happiest countries. Seems like an admirable goal for the Republican Party.
Thank you, Scott Walker: Back here in Wisconsin, where the Republican extreme is playing out under career politician Scott Walker (for god's sake he raised a family, from cradle to college, on taxpayer money):
The closest the U.S. has ever come to universal health care is Obamacare, but Republicans are enraged over the government doing anything at all to help its citizens obtain quality health care.

In Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker has led the nation in attacking public education both by dismantling teachers’ security through Act 10, and through the use of vouchers to divert funding from public schools to private schools, including many for-profit schools.

Walker in Wisconsin and Trump on the federal level have been a two-man wrecking crew on environmental protection. In Wisconsin, Republicans have disemboweled our once-proud and effective Department of Natural Resources and reduced protections for the environment on every front.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Rural Republicans voters realize environmental regulation not so bad...

When Wisconsinites have to spend large amounts of money to defend the value of their properties and to try and keep their water supply clean against the Republican administration's irresponsible actions, you know something is terribly wrong. GOP politicians still work for us, right?

For rural Republican voters who think government regulations are suffocating their growth, well, maybe they've changed their minds...I hope.

While Republican legislators complain wind farms are unsightly and hurt property values around them, they're perfectly fine destroying property values with very large smelly dairy farms drawing down nearby water levels with their high capacity wells and spreading manure that eventually pollutes nearby residents drinking water. Oh, and they can now take their tax cut savings and spend it saving their communities by going to court to cancel out those high capacity wells. What a deal? 

This is a rural American horror story:
Pleasant Lake in Waushara and Marquette counties ... 120-acre lake — located mostly in the town of Coloma about 60 miles west of Oshkosh — is ideal for swimming, fishing, boating and other simple pleasures. For more than a century, full-time and seasonal residents and tourists have enjoyed the central Wisconsin lake, which can be accessed from public boat landings.

However, the issuance in 2016 of two permits by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources — for a high-capacity well on a nearby farm and a new dairy farm — posed imminent threats to the lake’s water level and even the lake itself. That’s why owners of lakeside and other nearby properties decided to purchase and conserve the 105-acre Bula Farm to protect Pleasant Lake and its watershed lands — and to challenge the DNR permits in court. In May 2017, Pleasant Lake Management District members voted to purchase the land for $400,000 through a 20-year loan.
The proposed Richfield Dairy has not yet been built, but ... the Bula Farm was registered as a designated receiver of manure from the dairy — another concern for the residents. Manure spreading has been found to cause groundwater and surface-water pollution from nitrates and other contaminants of concern, especially in vulnerable areas such as Wisconsin’s Central Sands.

The Wisconsin State Journal reported Nov. 16, 2017, that the “Wisconsin Department of Revenue has found that homes near large dairy operations have been selling for as much as 13 percent below their assessed value in Kewaunee County, where odor, noise and water pollution from the sprawling feedlots have been a big problem.” PLMD president Tom Kunes said that either a high-capacity well or manure spreading “would have destroyed natural habitats and the quality of the lake. That would have been very destructive.”

Kunes noted long-term issues at stake: “Loss of lake water levels and contamination of private wells will result in degradation of both water quality and property values. This causes lake districts to spend money unnecessarily on legal actions to prevent water degradation and on purchase of nearby croplands to protect water resources.”

Friday, April 6, 2018

Justice Dallet on MSNBC...and the Millennial Student Movement a takes off!

Even after being asked specifically about Democratic support over and over by Lawrence O'Donnell, Justice Rebecca Dallet remained incredibly neutral. It was impressive, and apparently a quality that even many conservatives voted for:

The voting maps are also changing, especially in the more politically independent parts of the state. WKOW:

And we can thank the energized Millennial movement:
Voter turnout exceeded expectations in Dane county on Tuesday with Madison recording 32.2 percent. Madison Mayor Paul Soglin also says the turnout is breaking records for millennial's casting their ballots.

Mayor Soglin believe a big reason behind it is more voters are invested in the issues around them like gun reform, student loan debt and affordable housing.

“We haven't seen anything like this since the period of elections between 1968 and mid 1970's,” said Soglin. “There's a new block of voters and they showed up and they showed up in significant numbers.”

Another factor for big turnout is the NextGen American campaign that spent millions to encourage the youth to register to vote and former attorney general Eric Holder’s group the National Democratic Redistricting Committee investing $165,000 in digital ads.
NOTE: WKOW's Emilee Fannon's reporting has been impressive, considering how rough her first few weeks looked. I was worried after Greg Neumann left, but not anymore, I'm impressed.

Vukmir's fight against Union Thug Teachers, but wants to arm them?

With one son in 10th grade and another a UW freshman, I know more about schools than most Republican legislators. They're still acting out in anger over how it was "way back when" when they were in school. Uh, no comparison...lots have changed.

Leah Vukmir, warrior against Union Thugs-Teachers: Believe it or not, Republicans have unearthed the image of union thug teachers again, even after the teacher heroics we saw during a number of school shootings.

APWisconsin Next PAC, with close ties to Gov. Scott Walker, has launched a $575,000 television advertising campaign running statewide in April. The TV spot also credits Vukmir with leading the fight to pass Walker's Act 10 law in 2011 ... The ad calls opponents who protested against it "union thugs" who tried to "bully Wisconsin conservatives."
Poor Wisconsin conservatives, bullied by "self-esteem" "protecting" teachers...
Five months after Columbine, Vukmir wrote that massacres would continue until educators and parents overcame their “preoccupation with protecting [teenage] self-esteem.”
Check out Lawrence O'Donnell's piece on the "union thug" teachers who became the frontline defense for OUR students. A powerful piece that is still sad and difficult to watch. Wisconsin Next PAC and Vukmir are shameless:

Oh, and Walker isn't endorsing Vukmir?
...but his wife Tonette Walker backs Vukmir and their son works for her campaign.
Vukmir against "Self-Esteem"? It's must make Vukmir angry to see these confident, civic-minded outspoken students simply trying to feel safe within their schools:

Wait, Students Love Vukmir's Plan? Vukmir tried to distract from this nationwide movement with this, despite public opposition to arming teachers and having guns in schools:
...rather than heeding the students' calls for commonsense gun safety reforms ... Leah Vukmir endorsed arming teachers and putting guns inside classrooms -- a position opposed by 56% of Americans. Vukmir doesn't believe that guns are a leading factor in school shootings. Instead, Vukmir insists, the real problem is "school programs aimed at coddling teens" and what she calls the "self-esteem movement."
Oh wait...

Vukmir is simply echoing the following incredibly surreal position of hard-right conservatives below who want the benefits of being an "adult," but none of the responsibilities:

Yikes, Vukmir already outraged over Kindergarten Reading, wanted Proof it Worked? State Sen. Vukmir's own Facebook video shows her superficial and skewed impression of public education. She voice outrage over a reading program for...kindergarteners? Really? Vukmir already knew more about the childhood reading curriculum than the school's educators.
Leah first became politically active when her daughter was learning to read. As an involved parent, Leah asked her daughter’s kindergarten teacher a question that seemed like common sense: “Can you show me the research behind this reading program?” That question landed her in the principal’s office, and then the superintendent’s.
With privatization on her mind, she apparently never respected or understood the teacher explanations that may have conflicted with her own agenda. And by the way, what Vukmir describes is the kind of public accountability we expect from teachers, principals, and superintendents, and they came through with flying colors despite Vukmir's lack of appreciation.