Wednesday, August 31, 2011

On UW Game Days, Boycott Badgerville

I heartily approve of the plan for groups to picket "Badgerville" before UW football's season opener. Badgerville (I'm not going to link it) is this promotional deal between Johnsonville Brats and UW Athletics that they're starting before Bucky's home games, and there are a couple of big reasons to boycott or picket it.

1. Johnsonville is a big-time WisGOP donator, whose CEO, Ralph Stayer, has given tens of thousands of dollars to Scott Walker and other vermin. The WisGOPs turned around by cutting UW-Madison funding by $94 million over the next 2 years, and the UW System by a total of $250 million. So maybe the Stayers and Johnsonville were duped, and changed their tune after they realized how badly the GOP was hurting unions and public education in Wisconsin? NO WAY. Ralph Stayer doubled down on his pro-Walker bet, giving $15,000 to Randy Hopper and $2,000 to Alberta Darling in March. And those numbers don't even include the money they funneled to WMC (Johnsonville has been on the WMC Board of Directors) or Club for Growth, or gave after May, as those reports have yet to come in.

So Johnsonville is pulling the remarkable hypocrisy of tying themselves to the UW-Madison football program and trying to profit off of Bucky's good name and reputation, while at the same time funding anti-UW and anti-Madison legislators that want to make the UW's academic programs second-rate. Why my alma mater is taking money from these scumbags is beyond me ( just like they have no business helping WTMJ because of their right-wing propganda), but I certainly don't need to make it seem OK by attending this disgusting commercial display on game day.

2. Even if you don't hate Johnsonville, why would you go to Badgerville when you can go to the new Union South instead? I've been to the new UNION South, and it puts the old one to shame. Nice restaurants, TV areas, and the best part on game day is this new outdoor plaza area that'll give plenty of room for the band, fans and beer. If you're not hitting the beer gardens and the bars, go to Union South instead of Badgerville, and tell others the same. Not only are you going to be at a better event, but you'll be giving your beer and brat money to a legitimate organization that takes no taxpayer dollars and financed their renovations through fees, donations, sales and other non-tax means. Compare that to Johnsonville, who uses your money from buying brats to pay off politicians into giving them tax breaks that YOU end up having to make up the difference for.

Put these two reasons together, and it is an absolute no-brainer. Let Badgerville go empty, and send the message around Wisconsin that we don't overlook corporate slimeballs, no matter how they try to fix up their image. We support Badgers, not weasels.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Yep, the Walker boys lied on that health care report

Now this is what real journalism looks like. The Wisconsin State Journal asked the person that actually wrote the report on Obamacare in Wisconsin, and he says the GOP cherry-picked and lied about his report.
If you read the state's press release about the new report or went to an invitation-only press briefing Wednesday you would have been told that the study shows that reforms will mess up what is already working fine in Wisconsin. "We have one of the lowest uninsured rates and one of the most robust insurance marketplaces in the nation, all achieved without federal mandates," Department of Health Services Secretary Dennis G. Smith said in the press release, which lists what it calls "major concerns" that are "demonstrated by the results of this study."

But that's not the conclusion Gruber came to at all. "They picked out the most negative aspects of the report to highlight," Gruber told me in an interview. "Overall I think health care reform is a great thing for Wisconsin."

A key finding of the analysis -- that 340,000 uninsured people in Wisconsin will gain coverage by 2016 -- was not even mentioned in the press release issued by the state's Office of Free Market Health Care, which is the new department created by Walker to replace Doyle's Office of Health Care Reform, created barely a year earlier to carry out the federal Affordable Care Act.
You gotta love how the Walker boys and Dennis Smith tried to lock out the media and the public from asking real questions. Check this pasage.
Among the strict ground rules: reporters could not use any quotes provided by Smith and other state officials during the course of an hourlong briefing and PowerPoint presentation (which didn't get to the good news about the increase in coverage for 340,000 people until the last of 16 slides.) Reporters could use only comments provided in the press release or afterwards in one-in-one interviews with Smith...

State officials did not invite Gruber to Wisconsin for the release of his study nor did they set up a conference call with him for reporters or even provide them with his contact information. That is unusual for an important report like this, which cost $400,000. "I usually do a presentation at least to the stakeholders and policy makers," Gruber says. But he's not that surprised. "I think it's basically because they interpret their results differently than I do," he says.
So these guys couldn't even stand to go on the record with their bullshit, and didn't want the guy who who actually did the work to explain the results? Then Dennis Smith and company have no right to take my tax dollars for their "work" (read:propagndizing on behalf of insurance companies)

Damn that reality and its liberal bias! This story needs to go wide. We'll see if it does when I come back from the great Northwoods on Monday.

Friday, August 26, 2011

So who do you trust on the Court?

Just read what was actually said to the cops about David Prosser's "contact" with Ann Walsh Bradley at the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and figure it out.

Gableman WARNING" This testimony will make no sense compared to others.

From reading it, I think it's pretty clear that:

1. The WMC judges (Prosser, Gableman, Ziegler, and Roggensack) all headed to Bradley's office to ask (read: bully) Abrahamson and Bradley to release their dissent in the collective bargaining case. Why were they so concerned? As Illy-T points out, it was because Prosser and company admitted they wanted to take the issue out of the Legislature's hands. Guess that's what he meant about "being a complement to the Walker Administration," wasn't it? No problem, except for that whole Separation of Powers thing that makes up our First 3 articles of the Constitution.

2. Bradley got bothered by these people showing up, told them basically "Get the hell out of my office," and approached Prosser moitioning for him to leave.

3. Prosser made some kind of contact with the neck of Bradley, which freaked her out enough that she admitted it made it very hard to work the rest of the day (I'm sure you'd handle being neck-grabbed by a co-worker in stride, right?), and the incident required an intervention from Capitol Police Chief Tubbs where Abrahamson and Bradley both said Prosser needed help, with little response from the others than Gableman, who already seems to live in an alternate reality based on his statements.

4. The Prosser comment to Abrahamson about her being a "total bitch" and that he was "going to destroy her" absolutely happened in February 2010. As usual, the left-wing media was correct when it hit on this story this March, and the "both sides" MSM downplayed a serious incident, to Prosser's benefit.

And last and scariest, check out what the guy who wasn't there says


Justice Crooks said he has noted Justice Prosser "loses his cool repeatedly"...[would] get red and pound on tables with his fists, and get louder and louder in tone during meetings, conferences, and even sometimes in public meetings. Justice Crooks says there are times that nothing happens that triggers Justice Prosser losing his cool. Justice Crooks estimated Justice Prosser "explodes and storms out of a room" approximately three to four times a year...

Justice Crooks said he would be fine if the result of this investigation resulted in Justice Prosser receiving counseling or treatment for his behavior. Justice Crooks believes Justice Prosser needs more than just anger management counseling.
Now, Sauk County Republican Pat Barrett may have decided that both sides were so different, that she did her best MSM impression, and threw up her hands saying "I don't know who's telling the truth, so I can't do anything about it." And if you're weak, you would do something like that, because it doesn't require you to apply any type of judgment.

However, unlike the corporate media, all 10 of you reading this HAVE THE POWER OF JUDGMENT. So I ask you, who do you trust? The WMC judges (because they wouldn't lie during a campaign or be fined for violating conflicts of interest, right)? Or Bradley, Abrahamson, and Crooks?


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Walker righties demonizing Obamacare makes Obamacare look better

Saw a couple of items cross the path today that on its face seemed to be ways to knock down the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). And then when I read them further, I found myself liking Obamacare more than I did before.

The first comes from the Walker Administration group headed by former Heritage Foundation lackey Dennis Smith, with the Orwellian name of the Office of Free Market Health Care. They claimed to find many flaws with Obamacare, but these "flaws" seem to be better than what we have now. My notes will be in italics
Approximately 40% of consumers in the non-group market will be forced to purchase richer health insurance benefit packages than they need due to new requirements placed on health plans including rating and product limitations. (Yes, God forbid people have more than bare bones health insurance in case of accidents or serious afflictions. And single-payer is "limiting and rationing"?)

The PPACA calls for a “hidden tax” on Wisconsin families. Beginning in 2014, working class families will subsidize the purchase of health insurance for families making as much as 400% of the federal poverty level or $89,400 per year for a family of four. (Yes, because we don't already subisidize older workers or the chronically ill despite us not being sick or old under the current system. God forbid we give lower and middle-class people a break on their premiums.)

Wisconsin’s traditional non-group health insurance market outside of the exchange is expected to shrink from 180,000 individuals to 30,000 individuals because federal and state dollars will be used to cover individuals who are already covered by private health insurance today. (So individuals won't have to pay extra costs for covering health care, won't have to deal with the uncertainty of future medical costs and premiums, and will have dollars freed up to actually buy products. This is a bad thing because...?)

Individuals will be dropped from their employer’s health plans. It is estimated that 100,000 individuals will be involuntarily dropped from employer sponsored health insurance. (And those employers will now have more funds available to pay employees, expand, or not deal with the uncertainty of higher insurance costs in the future. Again, this is bad because....?)

The majority of individuals in the non-group (individual) and small group (employers up to 50 employees) markets will pay more in premiums for health insurance by 2016 than they pay today. ("More" could be 5% more 5 years from now, which if true is a helluva lot better than what Figure 1 shows here, with premiums up at least 5.5% a year for each of the last 13 years. They went up 43% total between 2004-2010. So what's the "increase" to 2016 by comparison? Stupid scare tactic.)

Prior to the application of tax credits, 87% of individuals in the non-group market will receive an average premium increase of 41%. After the application of tax credits, 59% of the non-group market will receive an average premium increase of 31%. (So it cuts the amount of increase, and how long is this 31% "premium increase" over. As mentioned, 31% in 5 years is a lot better than what's happened the last 6.)

The analysis shows that 53% of small employer groups will experience premium increases averaging 15%. (See above, meaningless statement.)

So if I'm reading the propaganda from Dennis Smith correctly, they're admitting that Obamacare will slow the increases in health care costs, while freeing up expenses to go to more productive areas. So you're saying Obamacare's NOT a half-assed waste of time? Cool.

The second example is the fearful headlines about a study showing showing 10% of companies may stop offering health insurance coverage to employees by the time Obamacare starts in 2014. This is somehow supposed to be a failure of Obamacare, but to me, that seems like success. You're telling me these companies aren't going to throw increasing amounts of money down the drain at health insurance costs, encourage individual workers to go onto Obamacare, where they workers are more likely to be covered by a not-for-profit entity that doesn't get rewarded for screwing people over, AND the business has a better chance at survival and expansion with more money in its pocket? Isn't that a win-win all around? Hmmm, this concept sounds familiar. What is it called...oh yeah, THE PUBLIC OPTION. And it'll work.

In fact, isn't these projections proof that we not only need Obamacare, but that it should expanded to a public option for ALL employers and employees. (Well, actually the best option is Medicare for all, but bear with me for the time being) The purchasing power of a large group of individuals will mean insurance companies will work a lot harder for the business, and theoretically lower their costs and expand their coverages in order to pick up these huge amounts of customers. It's worth it for an insurance company to screw individuals trying to buy coverage, but those individuals get a lot more say when they're part of a large group that the insurance company wants.

And you know who believes that as much as anyone. SCOTT WALKER AND COMPANY! Scotty's own reform platform asked for local school districts to use the state's health insurance plan as leverage toward getting a better deal on costs. And God knows the Walker propagandists never stop perpetuating Kauakuna-type lies about how switching health insurance plans make Walker's education cuts not such a big deal. So why does his own organization hate expanding this concept to everyone that's struggling with the jack job that is the U.S. health insurance system?

Hmmm, maybe because expanding a public option would be something that would help real people at the expense of insurance companies, and would be a change that actually improved peoples' lives, instead of being an excuse to bash teachers and teachers unions on angry-man radio. It illustrates how dumb and sheltered this administration truly is, because they're stumbling into a good idea with allowing competitive bids of health insurance for school districts, but they're so busy trying to score points with the 262-area code yokels that they refuse to finish the job and apply it where it would have even bigger benefits- with the general public. Yes, they're just that simple-minded.

P.S. Looks like Sen. Erpenbach and Rep. Richards also see through this BS. And they're 2 former reps of mine, no less!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Numbers show Walker would lose Pt. 2- the I-94 connection

In the previous post, I pointed out that many of the rural areas that this month's recall elections were fought show that the Republicans have lost much of the support they gained in 2010, and that shift would give the Dems a great chance at winning a recall election if those numbers held. Let's add onto that by looking at the "Big 5" base counties in Wisconsin that make up both the Dem and GOP bases in the Milwaukee and Madison areas.

Craig Gilbert has done an excellent job illustrating how the Pasch-Darling recall race and the Supreme Court race this Spring illustrate that voters in Milwaukee and Dane Counties are in different electoral worlds compared to the ones in Waukesha, Washington, and Ozaukee Counties (or as I referenced earlier Wauzaukington County, an area every bit out of touch with Wisconsin that Madison allegedly is).

Traditionally, these 5 counties make up a large amount of the Wisconsin electorate, from 37.5% in the 2008 presidential election, to over 40% in the Supreme Court race this Spring. And if you view these 5 counties as a block, you can see that the numbers favor Democrats in total, with some shifts, but not as huge a shift as you saw in Central and Western Wisconsin. For these comparisons, I will assume Kloppenburg as the "Dem" in the 2011 S.C. race, and Prosser the "GOP" because, well, they are, and we'll run the same numbers as in the last post, using the 2006 and 2010 guv elections, with the Dem vs. GOP (non-3rd party) vote compared

2006 Gov. - Dem 55.9 - GOP 44.1
2010 Gov. - Dem 52.0 - GOP 48.0 (GOP swing +7.8)
2011 S.C. - Dem 51.8 - GOP 48.2 (GOP swing +0.4)

The last number is interesting, because this 5-county area actually swung slightly to the GOP while the rest of the state was swinging significantly to the Dem side (remember, Walker won by 5.7% while Prosser won by less than 0.5%). Sort of proves how much Walker was lying when he said the Kloppenburg support was from a "few agitators in Madison," doesn't it?

And the Kloppenburg election has another factor that should make the Sykes/Belling/Walker contingent tremble. Milwaukee County had a 10.7% shift TO THE GOP in that race, because Barrett hammered Walker by approximately 62-38 in 2010, while Prosser was with 13 points of Kloppenburg in April. Does anyone in their right mind think Scott Walker would gain votes in Milwaukee County after his policies have helped lead to major layoffs at MPS and probable cutbacks in transit and other social services? The Pasch-Darling race certainly doesn't indicate that, as Gilbert points out that Pasch beat Darling 62-38 in Milwaukee County, and that district left out about 95% of the City of Milwaukee. Bottom line- if Kloppenburg would have won Milwaukee County by the same margin Barrett did, she would have won the election by 19,000 votes- well out of the Kathy Nickolaus range. Uh oh, Scotty.

There's another problem Walker is facing when you look at these big counties for a recall- he's probably maxed himself out in support in Wauzaukington County, as those places have shifted GOP both times, especially between 2006 and 2010, so a shift back toward the 2006 results would make him toast. At the same time, Walker and the GOPs can certainly still lose ground in Dane County. Let's go over the 3 Walker counties and Dane County, and you'll see the changes.

Dem win (loss) 2006 Gov 2010 Gov. 2011 S.C.
Dane +42.7, +37.0 (+ 5.7 GOP), +46.6 (+9.6 Dem)
Waukesha -28.8, -43.5 (+14.7 GOP), -47.6 (+4.2 GOP)
Ozaukee -24.8, -38.4 (+13.6 GOP), -43.0 (+4.6 GOP)
Washington -33.8, -40.8 (+7.0 GOP), -51.2 (+10.4 GOP)

So if the Kloppenburg vote totals hold in Dane County, and Walker loses even half the shift that's gone on from 2006-2011, it's a relatively easy Dem win. And when you realize that Pasch lost to Darling by 38 points vs. Darling in a district that features Ozaukee and Washington Counties, that would be around half of that 5-year shift.

Well, maybe the suburb boys will outvote the Dane and Milwaukee Dems? That's certainly the plan behind Voter ID and similar suppression measures. Unfortunately, that might not work as well as they think. In fact, this is another place where the Dems have room to gain vs. the 2010 election while Scotty and company do not. In the 2011 Supreme Court election, all 4 Milwaukee area counties had fewer votes by around the same rate, but Dane County had very little dropoff at all.

2011 vote dropoff vs. 2010 guv race
Waukesha Co. 33.5%
Ozaukee Co. 32.8%
Milwaukee Co. 32.8%
Washington Co. 31.9%
Dane County 17.2%

There were lots of Madisonians who didn't know all that much about Walker this time last year, and many were indifferent on the gubernatiorial election. They sure weren't that way by April and they sure aren't now, not after Walker has constantly demonized the city and the people who work there, and cut their wages for no reason other than posing and greed. Then you combine it with a UW school-year election? You think there'd be high turnout in Madison in 2012? And if it's a heated, high-turnout election with presidential-level turnout, it hurts the GOP even more, because Dane and Milwaukee voters were more likely to stay home in 2010 vs. the Wauzaukington County ones.

2008 vote dropoff vs. 2010 guv race
Ozaukee Co. 18.7%
Waukesha Co. 19.2%
Washington Co. 20.7%
Dane County 22.2%
Milwaukee Co. 28.2%

So you have a more fired-up and anti-Walker Dane Co. contingent vs. 2010, a maxed-out contingent in the 262 Circle of Ignorance, and a Milwaukee Co. outcome that will likely yield a lot more Dem votes than the Supreme Court election did. Now the Dems are making noises about delaying any Walker recall to November 2012, and the dropoff in Milwaukee County votes in 2010 illustrates why they're thinking it could work. But I'd argue that the strong intensity and shift in Dane County show the time to strike is AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. By the time Spring 2012 rolls around, people will stop being tired of the recall elections (I did sense some fatigue by August, which I think helped the GOP), and they will then be ready to throw these bums to the street.

Now add these outcomes in 40% of the state to the 14 point swing you saw in votes from areas with recall elections, and it shows the recall is not only viable, but would be a winner. We got a few months to enjoy the Brewer season, but when the snow starts to fly, then it's time to GET TO WORK, and end this disastrous era before it causes even more damage than it has.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Recall votes show Walker would go down

Now that the dust has settled from the recall elections, let's see what the votes tell us. Sure, I didn't get all that I wanted out of it (I especially wanted Clark and Pasch to win), but turning the Senate to 17-16 while easily defending 3 Dem seats is nothing to ignore. And when you go inside the numbers, you'll see that there's reason for optimism on the good guys' side, and why the WisGOPs are scared.

Let's start with the J-S's Craig Gilbert's breakdown of the results. And then combine that with the official GAB canvass of the 6 Repub recalls, and let's see the changes from the 2010 guv election.

First of all, as Gilbert notes, the total votes shifted from 56-44 Walker to 51-49 Dem, a 7 point swing in itself. But it wasn't uniform, as 3 had minor pro-Dem shifts of only between 0.8-1.7% (Harsdorf and Cowles, considered the two safest, and Darling, who benefits from the 262 Sykes'-sucking Circle of Ignorance). By comparison, the races involving Olsen (who hung on by 2,200 votes vs. Clark), and Hopper and Kapanke (who both lost) all had shifts between 5.7 and 9.2%. And what'll Hopper and Kapanke's districts look like when the kids and faculty are back at UW-Oshkosh and UW-La Crosse for a school-year recall? Yeah, I'm guessing even higher.

The Dems facing recall had an even bigger shift. Sure, some of that was due to them facing a violent criminal who doesn't pay child support, a Sarah Palin wanna-be who continually failed to pay her taxes on time, and a fundie Chicago corporate lawyer who rented to a sex offender. But a double-digit shift shows that the people in GB, Kenosha and the Northwoods saw right through the out-of-state Astroturf groups who had dead people signing recall petitions. And you can bet they won't be willing to come back to the GOP for quite a while.

So let's plug in the numbers to last year's guv election (which had similar turnout numbers), and see what we get. Final score from November was Walker 52.25, Barrett 46.48. Or you can turn it into Walker 52.9- Barrett 47.1 among those who chose those two. Then turn that 52.9% down 7 points, Walker loses by more than 8 points (54.1-45.9).

To give some persepctive on this, that's a bigger win than than Jim Doyle's crushing of Mark Green in 2006, an election that had a bigger margin for Doyle than Walker's "mandate" last November. That election also flipped the state Senate to the Dems, and featured a higher turnout than 2010, buoyed in no small part by student and progressive anger from an anti-gay marriage amendment on the ballot. Think there might be a little progressive and student anger at trying to blow Walker and the GOP out of office?

The Shilling-Kapanke, Clark-Olsen, and Hopper-King races also show that Walker and the WisGOP's problems go deeper than a 14-point flip from Walker +6 to -8. Many places that decided to risk going GOP in Nov. 2010 are flipping back, and hard. So much so that the results look closer to the Governor's election of 2006 than 2010.

Dem victory (or defeat) 2006, 2010, and 2011 recall
La Crosse Co. +17.3, -0.2 (17.5 shift GOP), +13.7 (+13.9 Dem)
Vernon/Crawford Co. +18.5, +0.7 (+17.8 GOP), +6.4 (+5.7 Dem)
Sauk/Columbia/Marq. +9.0, -4.9 (+13.9 GOP), +14.5 (+19.4 Dem)
Grn Lk/Waupaca/Waush. -9.8, -22.8 (+13.0 GOP), -15.5 (+7.3 Dem)
Fond du Lac Co. -14.2, -29.7 (+15.5 GOP), -8.9 (+20.8 Dem)

Let's even include a race the GOP "dominated", the Harsdorf-Moore race. This includes the baggerific exurbs of the Twin Cities in Polk and Saint Croix Counties that lean GOP (right across the river from Michelle Bachmann's district).

Dem victory (or defeat) 2006, 2010, and 2011 recall
Polk-Saint Croix +3.1, -22.6 (+25.7 GOP), -20.1 (+2.5% Dem)
Dunn-Pierce Co. parts +17.3, -3.6 (+20.9 GOP), -1.0 (+2.6 Dem)

The Dunn-Pierce ones are worth noting, because those parts of the counties include the UW-Stout and UW-River Falls campuses, and you see the result of the anti-gay marriage amendment in those votes. Those students were mostly gone on Aug.9, and I may be going out on a limb here, but I bet they wouldn't vote for politicians who are gutting education and raising tuition like the WisGOPs. That swing probably goes up more than the 2.6% in a school-year election.

So no wonder Walker and company are trying this fake "I want to work with both sides" act. They see the writing on the wall, and that the gains they made in November are mostly gone. Their problem is, they're the ones that own the disaster that is unfolding, and no attempt to draw the Dems into it are going to win those votes back.

But this is only one part of Scotty and co's troubles. I'll throw in a second part in a day or so, and show how they're in trouble in the big counties, too.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

14.8 jobs in - 12.5 jobs out = more Walker fail

Well you knew this was coming, didn't you? After last month's suspiciously strong jobs report, we get the inevitable correction this month. A seasonally-adjusted 12,500 private sector jobs went away in July, and the only thing preventing a complete debacle was 4,100 "added" jobs in local government. Even that local gov't "growth" is misleading, because it was really a lower-than-normal July REDUCTION of 27,600 actual jobs. And unemployment went up 0.2% to 7.8% while the national average went down 0.1%.

Worse, the job losses are across the board, as every DWD sector other than government lost jobs. So unlike the summer jobs that resulted in most of June's increase, we got losses all over the place, so it's not just a correction in that area. It is a brutal report, and looks even worse when you recall the U.S. private sector GAINED 154,000 at the same time.

And it also gives you 6 months of the Fitzwalkerstan record to see where we're going. I'm also going to throw in the last 9 months of the Jim Doyle Administration for a fuller Dem vs. GOP-control comparison.

Apr. 2010- July 2010
UE DOWN 0.6%, total private sector jobs +3,800, total jobs -3,900

July 2010- Oct. 2010
UE DOWN 0.1%, private sector +5,400, total jobs +9,200

Oct. 2010- Jan. 2011 (Walker, GOP elected)
UE DOWN 0.4%, private sector +16,900, total jobs +6,000

Jan. 2011- Apr. 2011 (Walker takes over, "drops bomb")
UE DOWN 0.1%, private sector +14,200, total jobs +20,300

Things were definitely clicking in Wisconsin. But then remember that policies usually have a 3-6 month effect before really hitting the market. And now check out the last 3 months.

Apr. 2011- July 2011 (Walker budget passed)
UE UP 0.5% (back to pre-election levels), private sector +3,200 (worst 3 months of all of these periods), total jobs +2,600 (below U.S. trend).

Yeah, UGH! So what did the Koch-suckers at WMC try to give as an excuse for this clear decline under Scotty and co.? Uncertainty due to the recall elections. Are you fucking kidding me?!! I'd say the real reason the economy tanked last month was the absolute certainty that hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites will lose take-home pay, jobs and business patrons because of the union-busting bill. And it's only going to get worse when the retiring teachers don't come back and local governments cut the hell out of services after being left behind by the state.

But hey, at least we've got a booming stock market to take care of us and our 401 (k)s to replace our pensions. Oh what's that you say? Check the ticker? OH CRAP!

Can't wait to see those unreleased revenue numbers for June and July. Hello? DOR? Come out, come out wherever you are...And can you find the Governor in there as well, since he was hiding a lot these last 2 weeks? Thanks.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Enjoying the Taste

I've been busy for the last week. Worked to defend democracy in the Town of Shelby near La Crosse this week (thanks to the great staff for their work), and then I hosted 4 guys who came from several hours away to attend this little shindig on Saturday.

As usual, it was quite the good time. Combining high-quality beer and friends is never a bad call, and then add in 125 brewers from 11 states and an awesome "Real Ale" tent, and it takes it to a whole 'nother level. Special props goes out to Indiana's New Albanian Brewing, not only for an awesome red ale in its Elector, and a tasty 9.5% Tunnel Vision, but also for a great t-shirt that shows beer-making equipment and the caption "These machines kill fascists." Also, a high-quality slam on Mitch Daniels and Scott Walker in the Great Taste program, explaining that they could feel Wisconsin's "gubernatorial pain." (I also feel your pain, NA Brewing) Good beer from a company with its head in the right place.

And today is the dreaded morning after. Just took out at least 2 cases of bottles we consumed in my place over the last 2 days, and am cleaning up the house and returning it to an inhabitable state. But it's all worth it, and it's great to have an outlet back to sanity every once in a while.

I'll be back to bring more on corporatist collapse and voting results in the near future, but for now, I'll settle for the Brew Crew and a chill Sunday.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Republican budgeting- bad TeAA+

The unsurprising news that S&P downgraded the U.S.'s debt to AA+ shouldn't be taken with too much alarm, partially because these were the guys giving Lehman Brothers an "A" rating right before they collapsed, and they overrated most of the subprime and mortgage backed securities before they fell apart, probably because they got paid for doing so. But that being said, this passage is an important one.
The statutory debt ceiling and the threat of default have become political bargaining chips in the debate over fiscal policy. Despite this year's wide-ranging debate, in our view, the differences between political parties have proven to be extraordinarily difficult to bridge, and, as we see it, the resulting agreement fell well short of the comprehensive fiscal consolidation program that some proponents had envisaged until quite recently. Republicans and Democrats have only been able to agree to relatively modest savings on discretionary spending while delegating to the Select Committee decisions on more comprehensive measures. It appears that for now, new revenues have dropped down on the menu of policy options. In addition, the plan envisions only minor policy changes on Medicare and little change in other entitlements, the containment of which we and most other independent observers regard as key to long-term fiscal sustainability.

In other words, S&P thinks the Baggers aren't able to work with everyone else to do anything that would actually help the country long-term, and the lack of increased revenues and sustainiability of entitlements makes things unworkable. They're practically screaming "RAISE TAXES ON THE RICH, END THE WARS AND STABILIZE SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE!!" But I'm sure the lobbyist cash will talk louder than this analysis of getting our deficits and debt back on track.

(Of course, Paul Krugman mentions that another problem could be that S&P took the worst-case scenario for their starting point instead of the actual one. OOOPS!)

Same problem is developing in Wisconsin, where I have it on good authority from people who have seen the numbers that the Scott Walker/ WisGOP budget is already coming in low on revenues and will probably need another budget repair bill in the upcoming months, regardless of whether or not the Dems take back the State Senate. Now, I can't tell you the numbers for sure, because the the Department of Revenue has been late in releasing them for June. Interestingly, these June numbers have been out in late July for the last 3 years, but are being held up this year. Think the recall elections may be playing a role here?

I mean, it's not like Walker and co. didn't leave a $21 million hole in Milwaukee County or anything like that. This is especially egregious because Milwaukee County has a special designation as a "first-class county", and could have been exempted from cuts in state shared revenue under the point that they had already cut employee benefits, and therefore couldn't offset the cuts like other communities could. And who was the County Executive when that imposed these benefit reductions? SCOTT WALKER! So Gov. Dropout hurt the alleged effectiveness of his own actions now that he moved on to a bigger job.

This is how pathetic and paid off the average Republican is when it comes to fiscal matters. They put in unworkable solutions, which cause deficit and debt problems, and then put in place actions and policies that make the problem they caused even worse. It's almost like they want society and government to fail in order to have their contributors take over these services, and make a helluva lot of money in the process.

Oh, forget that "almost", that IS what they want. And that's why we need to blow them all out of power in 2 days. LET'S DO THIS.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Brewing up greatness over the red team

God, beating up on that team in red is fun. They whine and bitch about every little slight and bear no resemblance to the classy Midwestern group they used to be in my grandparents' generation. They're such self-absorbed jags who think everything should revolve around them and their feelings about things, and are more than willing to dish out judgment, but God forbid they pay the price for their arrogance. They really have a problem with all those Wisconsin folks who won't put up with their crap and instead keeps coming at the arrogant Red Team, despite all the obstacles and head games the Red Team tries to come up. I mean, if you listened to these clowns, we should just bow and step to the side when these guys come strolling down the street, because we're mere second-class citizens to royalty like them.

That's right, I'm referring to the Brewers' 10-5 whacking of the Cards today to take 2 out of 3 over those arrogant pricks, and go 3-and-a-half in front. La Russa's act is so beyond tired, particularly the excuses he had for not winning in Miller Park (Lighting issues? Sign stealing? Even Charles Sykes thinks that's a weak misdirection play), and the lame justifications he gave for throwing at Braun yesterday were so low-class. Hey Tony, I know you're thought of as a genius, you never hesitate to remind us, but you've also had a helluva lot of talent to have only 2 World Series title in over 30 years of managing, don't you think?

Oh, you thought I was referring to the WisGOPs, with their constant whining, projection, and excuses for why they're flailing away? And their (unearned) authority complex and their lame "their guy does it too" act? Well, now that you bring it up...And the good guys are going to win in Wisconsin next week the same way the Brewers did today- not get caught up in the Red team's bullshit, and just get down to business and do what they do. Time for both the Crew and the real Wisconsinites to put it into overdrive with the big events starting Aug. 9.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

TRUTH and dot-connecting

I can't come close to stating it as well as these guys can.

First, an absolute home run shot from John Nichols, connecting the dots, and remembering what Scott Walker said in the David Koch phone call:
“The other thing is more long-term, and that is, after this, um, you know the coming days and weeks and months ahead, particularly in some of these, uh, more swing areas, a lot of these guys are gonna need, they don’t necessarily need ads for them, but they’re gonna need a message out reinforcing why this was a good thing to do for the economy and a good thing to do for the state. So to the extent that that message is out over and over again, that’s obviously a good thing.”

Admittedly, the governor was not very articulate.

But his message was clear enough. He wanted the Koch-funded group, Americans for Prosperity, to step in and help the Republican legislators who sided with him — even in the face of massive opposition from their constituents.
And so what has the Kochs' Americans for Prosperity and related groups like the anti-choice lobby done in the recall elections? Yep, thrown a ton of cash and dirty tricks to back WisGOPs. And then they have the nerve to complain about Sandy Pasch's alleged coordination with Citizen Action? REALLY? Projection is not the WisGOP's friend.

But neither are most D.C. Dems, as Tammy Baldwin was the only Congressional Dem from Wisconsin to have the strength to vote against this stupid deficit/debt plan. We're not going to get this country to get off of its decline through the power structure in D.C. And for how we got here and what needs to be done, I present to you, Keith Olbermann.

Damn right Keith. It starts with US, and it has to BE US. And it has to start one week from today.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Yep, Alberta Darling's really that clueless

In a gaffe along the lines of John McCain's attitude of "I'm just a normal lifestyle kind of guy, even though I have five houses," Alberta Darling said people who make $250,000 a year were "small business and not wealthy." Well, that seems ridiculous on its face for those of us in the real Wisconsin, but given that Bertie Dahhh-ling is from the North Shore suburbs of Milwaukee, maybe it's not that much in that district.

SO I went to the Census Bureau American Community Survey to see how a $250,000 income measures up in Bertie's neck of the woods. And indeed, $250,000 is around normal in River Hills, where the median household income is estimated at an insane $207,031 (median = half above, half below) . But then take a look at the rest of that district:

Median household income (2009 dollars)
Whitefish Bay $106,500
Mequon $101,385
Fox Point $100,000
Bayside $81,164
Germantown $71,647
Menomonee Falls $67,506
Glendale $63,770
Brown Deer $61,097
Shorewood $60,272
Thiensville $54,449

So anyone making $250K would be making more than twice the typical income of a household in Whitefish Bay, Mequon, or Fox Point, and nearly FOUR TIMES much of the rest of that district. So who the hell does Darling hang around with where she thinks a $250,000 income isn't all that much? Apparently, she doesn't get out of her gated community and country club very much, and that alone should eliminate her from serving that area any more.

But it goes further than that. I'm reminded when McCain tried to insinuate in one of the 2008 presidential debates that a "Joe the [Fake] Plumber" type wasn't rich because he made $250,000. But what he was doing was confusing revenues with profits, and probably on purpose. $250,000 in revenues isn't all that much, but $250K AFTER EXPENSES is a ton, and chances are quite high that your business isn't all that small if you're able to keep $250 large for yourself.

Darling seems to have the same convenient "confusion". From the article:
"I just went to a woman today and she said, 'Do you believe, you know, why are you giving tax breaks to the wealthy?' I said 'What do you consider wealthy?' She said '$250,000 and above' and I said 'that is small business.' Those are small business people. Those aren’t wealthy people. We are not interested in raising taxes on the quote 'rich.' We are interested in growing the economy."

On Monday, Darling said she was trying to make a distinction between wealthy people and small businesses. Yes, she said, any family with an income of $250,000 or more is wealthy.

But that may not be necessarily true for a small business. A small business may be worth $250,000 or more, but it might have a small number of employees. That kind of business is not wealthy, she said. And a small business that gets taxed, she said, can kill jobs.

Oh, maybe by "small business owner" she means CEO, as the median Wisconsin CEO made $2.5 million in 2010, and only the bottom folks made anything in the neighborhood of that piddling $250,000. Guess that makes sense, rich oligarchs are an ALEC puppet like Darling's REAL constituency.

But a person making a salary of $250,000 being a typical Wisconsin worker that just wants to live the American Dream? I got two words for that "clarification". BULL and SHIT. Insulting or ignorant? You make the call.

7 months in Fitzwalkerstan

I was thinking of doing a post that runs down what a mess these d-bags have made of the state, but this site does it a lot better than I ever could.

H/t to Capper and Cognitive Dissidence.