Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Get Big Money Out Of Politics

Why Pete Buttigieg’s Defense Of Wealthy Donors Is So Fuzzy
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) made grassroots fundraising a centerpiece of his bid for the 2016 Democratic nomination against Hillary Clinton, painting her as part of the elite political class. Since President Donald Trump’s election, the Democratic Party has zeroed in on a campaign finance reform platform; this year, House Democrats passed a bill that proposed publicly financing elections and mandating certain disclosures (the measure remains stalled in the Republican-controlled Senate).
For Further Reading:
Why Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg can’t be trusted

Monday, December 30, 2019

A Recovery Squandered

A Recovery Squandered
Despite a decade of steady economic growth since the Great Recession, America has done remarkably little to address underlying structural weaknesses in the country’s economy and society. The nation has squandered the recovery.

Traitors Among Us

Friday, December 27, 2019

Education Can Be The Answer

The U.S. is a highly educated country. We've taken pride in knowledge, science, understanding, innovation and entrepreneurialism. Yet, we've also taken this beyond the reach of the job market. We have bank managers that studied literature in college. We've told everyone they need to get at least a four-year degree to be successful. Despite the fact that most jobs only need a high school diploma, some on-the-job training and/or an associates or trade degree.

We've used the more education mantra as more of a club than a means to an end. We should be educating and training for needs not ego. It sounds nice for everyone to have a medical doctorate or a juris doctorate, but the world needs more than doctors and lawyers. 

An op-ed in Urban Milwaukee echoed the more education mantra: State’s Future Depends on Knowledge Economy

Four of the top five occupations with the highest projected numeric change in employment have salaries under $30,000 per year. 13 of the 20 earn less than $40,000 annually. And many of these only require a high school diploma or on-the-job training.

Get all the education you can. More education is always better. But have an endgame. Find a career. Find something you enjoy. Don't go ridiculously in debt chasing the education savior. People who would have been better at trade school becoming an electrician, plumber or mechanic end up with Bachelors and Masters degrees. 

Too many pundits love writing about the creative class, entrepreneurship and the knowledge-based economy. All somehow magically dependent on more and more education. And, as if this was the majority of jobs and workers. This elitist view ignores the majority of employees. Which, again, have only a high school diploma, some on-the-job training and/or an associates or trade degree. Only one-third of the workforce has a bachelor's degree or higher.

For Further Reading:
Projections of occupational employment, 2016–26
Fastest Growing Occupations

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Keep Crying Republicans, But The United States Is Already Socialist

What if Republicans actually wanted to discuss topics based on merit, priorities and facts? What if Republicans wanted to govern and actually help Americans?

Scott Walker faux worries, What if Santa were a socialist? Yes, he thought he'd use the holiday season to knock community, working together and caring for others. You know, the bedrocks of socialism.

Here's a news flash for Walker, Republicans and other dipshits that keep parroting the Socialism Is Bad trope, America is socialist.

Public schools, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, fire fighters, police, public transportation, roads, bridges, the military and on and on are all socialist.

We do things better and we all live better when we work together and help each other out. For Republicans to keep pretending these programs and institutions are threats to freedom is garbage. These are the foundations of our society and our high quality of life. For Republicans to keep pitting every American against one another, for Republicans to keep tearing down the institutions that have made everyone's lives better, is a disservice to the entire nation.

The United States is socialist. And, we need more socialism, not less. What we could use less of - disingenuous and self-interested Republican stooges.

Merry Christmas, even to the idiots that lap up Walker's horseshit.

For Further Reading:
How Socialism Made America Great
America Is Already Socialist, And That’s a Good Thing

Sunday, December 22, 2019

The (Fox)Conn Continues

So, Scott Walker gives billions away to Foxconn. Thousands of jobs are promised. Now, according to Foxconn, Wisconsin actually doesn't have the workers to fill the jobs. Foxconn Says It Can't Find Enough Workers For Wisconsin Project. WTF?

Hopefully everyone can see this bribery that is called economic development is pure extortion. Inflated economic impact reports are released along with CEOs and politicians congratulating each other on the wonderful "partnership" they've created, which will result in massive job growth.

Business 101 instructs that you don't locate your business somewhere that can't efficiently provide your needed inputs (labor, obviously, being one of those).

The Wisconsin-Foxconn debacle perfectly illustrates how distorted our economic development policies have become. To pretend that Wisconsin had some underlying competitive advantage regarding Foxconn's business needs, and they just needed a little boost in the form of Wisconsin subsidies to reach that reality. Then, slowly, the job numbers decrease, and facility construction is delayed. Now, Foxconn tells us Wisconsin doesn't even have the workers for the jobs they are planning in Wisconsin. This is just another crony capitalist shakedown.

For Further Reading:
Skills Shortage, Labor Shortage, Skills Gap ... All Bullshit
The So-Called "Skills Gap" Is Complete Bullshit
More Skills Gap Crap

More Wisconsin Corporate Welfare

Convention Center Moves Forward

For Further Reading:
Milwaukee's Boondoggle Twofer
The Convention Center Cabal

Holiday Reading

Amazon's Internal Injury Records Expose The True Toll Of Its Relentless Drive For Speed
The Danger Of Centrist Conventional Wisdom
How To Reform Today's Rigged Capitalism
The Massive Triumph Of The Rich, Illustrated By Stunning New Data
It's Becoming Clear That High-Speed Rail Would Benefit Wisconsin More Than Foxconn
Foxconn May Cut State GDP By $6 Billion
Charter Schools Wasted $48.6 Million In State Grants
Trump Tariffs Cost State $800 Million
Foxconn Says It Can't Find Workers
Showdown In Wisconsin Valley
The Jobs Market Isn't As Healthy As It Seems

Sunday Reading

The US Has A Lot Of Money, But It Does Not Look Like A Developed Country
Young People Bear The Brunt Of A Long-Term Decline In American Job Quality
Milwaukee City Workers Moved Out In Droves After The Residency Rule Ended. It Was A Boom For The Suburbs.
The Link Between Declining Middle-Wage Jobs, Rising Wage Inequality, And Worker Welfare
The Bee Has Been Declared The Most Important Living Being On The Planet
How FedEx Cut Its Tax Bill To $0
Big Borrower And A Giant Corporate Tax Dodge? How To Best Describe The US External Balance Sheet
Why The 2020 Census Should Matter To You
Act 10 Caused Big Decline In Unions
The Great American Labor Paradox: Plentiful Jobs, Most Of Them Bad
Trump Has Spent $115 Million On Golf Trips - Or 287 Years Of Presidential Salary

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Weekend Reading

Trump’s Business More Fraudulent Than Previously Known
Fox News Is Now a Threat to National Security
Capitalism has distorted our understanding of community — and it’s making us vulnerable to manipulation
‘Tax the Rich’ is no longer just a political slogan
A Recession Hasn’t Arrived (Yet). Here’s Where You’ll See It First.

Best Metal Albums 2019

Tool Fear Inoculum
Allegaeon Apoptosis
Gatecreeper Deserted
Creeping Death Wretched Illusions
3Teeth Metawar
Devourment Obscene Majesty
Jinjer Macro
Opeth In Cauda Venenum
Ghost Seven Inches Of Satanic Panic
Periphery Periphery IV: Hail Stan
Soen Lotus
Devil Master Satan Spits on Children of Light
Cattle Decapitation Death Atlas
Spirit Adrift Divided by Darkness
Astronoid Astronoid
Despised Icon Purgatory
Nocturnal Departure Cathartic Black Rituals
Blut Aus Nord Hallucinogen
Fleshgod Apocalypse Veleno
Cult Of Luna A Dawn of Fear
Cloudkicker Unending
Baroness Gold & Grey
Devin Townsend Empath
Tomb Mold Planetary Clairvoyance
Candlemass The Door To Doom
Full Of Hell Weeping Choir
Immortal Bird Thrive On Neglect
Blood Incantation Hidden History of the Human Race
Mark Morton Anesthetic
Misery Index Rituals Of Power
Oath Of Cruelty Summary Execution At Dawn
1349 The Infernal Pathway
Warforger I: Voice
Cryptic Sermon The Ruins of Fading Light
Sanhedrin The Poisoner
Funereal Presence Achatius
Green Lung Woodland Rites
MGLA Age Of Excuse
Babymetal Metal Galaxy
Hath Of Rot And Ruin

2019's Itsy Bitsy Small-Dick Award "Winner" (And Repeat "Champion") - Donald Trump Jr.

Don Jr. went to Mongolia, got special treatment from the government and killed an endangered sheep

In a very close race, coming in at 2nd:

Mitch McConnell Brags About Blocking Obama For 2 Years, Then Laughs About It

And, another contender for the smallest dick (this guy is really "Champion" Small-Dick In Perpetuity):

Articles Of Impeachment or Republicans Are Terrible Public Servants

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Stinkfist +

Sacha Baron Cohen Anti-Defamation League International Leadership Award Speech

Keep Licking Those Boots Lindsey

Lindsey Graham Begins Senate Investigation Into The Bidens


So I'm following along with the impeachment hearings and all the coverage surrounding it.

From this article, CNN’s Michael Smerconish: Fiona Hill might have given House Democrats everything they need on John Bolton’s views, the following quote jumped out at me:
Many proponents of impeaching President Donald Trump have been asserting that if House Democrats can get former National Security Adviser John Bolton to testify, it would be a major victory.
"If" they can get Bolton to testify?

When someone is subpoenaed, you can now choose whether or not to show up?

What kind of banana republic circus is going on here? 

Here's FindLaw's definition of subpoena:
A subpoena (pronounced "suh-pee-nuh") is a request for the production of documents, or a request to appear in court or other legal proceeding. It is court-ordered command that essentially requires you to do something, such as testify or present information that may help support the facts that are at issue in a pending case. The term "subpoena" literally means "under penalty". A person who receives a subpoena but does not comply with its terms may be subject to civil or criminal penalties, such as fines, jail time, or both.
Whether you're the President, Vice President, National Security Advisor, the Secretary of Energy, whomever you are, if you're subpoenaed, YOU HAVE TO SHOW UP.

Maybe Adam Schiff and the Democrats are just being nice, figuring they can get all they need from the people who do show up. But Republicans have shut down the government for a lot less and they tried to impeach Bill Clinton over a blow-job. So part of me would just like to get assholes like Trump, Pence and Perry in the hot seat to see them sweat and squirm. Ya know, payback's a bitch, and shit like that.

For Further Reading:
‘A complete sham’: Anger grows over report GOP senators met with Trump to map out ‘rigged’ impeachment trial

Medicare For All

Top Economist Robert Pollin Answers Key Questions on the Emerging Divide Between Sanders and Warren on Medicare for All

Republicans and even some Democrats are out to scare you about Medicare for All

Trump Is A Crook

And everyone making excuses for him (and/or defending him) is also a shameful, irresponsible criminal.

State Pension Funding

Monday, November 18, 2019

The Republican Agenda: Party Over Country

Trump ally Roger Stone found guilty on all 7 counts in Mueller probe
All of Robert Mueller’s indictments and plea deals in the Russia investigation
House Republicans in lockstep say they will not impeach Trump — despite all the evidence: ‘It does not matter’
Sondland’s testimony shows Mike Pompeo was far more central on Ukraine than we knew
The looney CrowdStrike conspiracy claims debunked by Fiona Hill during her bombshell impeachment testimony
Fox News legal analyst knocks down Fox & Friends’ anti-impeachment talking points one by one
Mike Pence All Of A Sudden Can't Recall If He Talked With Sondland About Ukraine Aid Being Withheld Uh Oh GOP, David Holmes's Testimony Has 'Pizzazz'!

Negotiations 101

Obama says that Americans are seeking “improvement” not “revolutionary” change

In general, this is true.  We don't need to blow everything up and start over.  But, as a good negotiating tactic, you start with everything and the kitchen sink and work your way back from there.  You don't start small because then you usually end up with nothing ... which seems to be the Democrats' plan for the last few decades.

Donald Trump pretended he was going to bring back coal mining jobs.  Republicans keep selling that tax cuts will trickle down.  These were all lies.  But voters believed them and voted for them.

So why shouldn't Democrats forcefully advocate for health care, clean water, a higher minimum wage, green jobs, etc.?  These are policies that will help the majority of citizens and actually create jobs.  These are the policies citizens want.  This isn't revolutionary change, this is the historical platform of the Democratic Party.

Democrats - enough with the baby steps.  Get a spine and fight for policies that will help the American people.  Voters are sick of the double-speak and goose-stepping.  They don't want the calm, practical status quo.  They want someone with principles to get shit done.  Enough of the middle-of-the-road, mealy-mouthed politicking.  Take a stand and get something done.   

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Weekend Reading

The U.S. Only Pretends To Have Free Markets
So We're Supposed To Treat Donald Trump With Respect, After All This? Oh, Hell No
Elizabeth Warren's Plan To Pay For Medicare-For-All, Explained
Elizabeth Warren Proves She Does Her Homework With Impressive Plan To Fund Medicare For All
Senator Warren's Answer On Taxes And Medicare For All Is Exactly Right
How Elizabeth Warren Can Address The Medicare For All Question
The Happy, Healthy Capitalists Of Switzerland
Upgrade The New Deal, Riemer Declares
Everyone Deserves Clean Water
For Elizabeth Warren, The Wealth Tax Is About More Than Money
United States Spend Ten Times More On Fossil Fuel Subsidies Than Education
Thousands Of Scientists Around The World Declared A Climate Emergency And Warned Of "Untold Suffering"
The Debate Over Whether The Very Rich Pay Lower Taxes Than You, Explained
Unions Are Pushing Members To Run For Office - And It's Paying Off
We Get It, Rich Guys Are Not Into Elizabeth Warren
If Corporations Are Being Run To Maximize Returns To Shareholders, Why Are Returns So Low?
Did Warren Pass The Medicare Test? I Think So
Only A Global Green New Deal Can Save The Planet
Never-Before-Seen Trump Tax Documents Show Major Inconsistencies
If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Rich? Turns Out It's Just Chance

Sunday, November 3, 2019

It's Time For Real Change

Nancy Pelosi Is Worried 2020 Candidates Are on Wrong Track
Those liberal ideas that fire up the party’s base are a big loser when it comes to beating President Donald Trump.
Pelosi believes most American don't want or don't support: improved health care (Medicare For All), improved infrastructure, public elections, taxing corporations and the rich, green (environmentally friendly) policies, getting rid of the electoral college, a higher minimum wage, and improved labor policies.  Just to name a few of the Sanders/Warren policy prescriptions.

Pelosi claims these are fringe, liberal, San Francisco, pipe-dream policies.  "What works in San Francisco does not necessarily work in Michigan,” Pelosi said.

Being a Midwesterner, I have to inform Pelosi she is way off.  In what has been referred to as the Rust Belt, deindustrialization has decimated many good paying jobs, left workers with less and less of a voice, and left many without decent health care or the hope of a stable retirement.

Most Midwesterners would be happy to see the playing field tilted in favor of workers rather than corporations and the rich.

As the article stated, "The speaker’s concerns reflect those of many Democratic leaders and donors who believe that left-wing policies will alienate swing voters and lead to defeat."

Translation - big moneyed donors like their power and wealth and they don't want to give any of either up.

Pelosi and the current Democratic leadership need to 'grow a pair' or get out the way.  We can't keep pushing climate change policies down the road; we can't keep taking from workers and giving to the already wealthy; all citizens deserve good health care; all citizens should be able to retire with dignity; we should all expect clear air and drinking water; our elections should be free, fair and representative.  If you don't have the spine or passion to fight for real change for the majority of Americans, you don't belong in politics.

Pelosi, Bill Clinton and the triangulation-gang got us to this point.  Always capitulating and cutting deals, slowly moving the Democratic party more and more to the right.  So much so, that the difference between the parties became almost indistinguishable.  Many former Democrats started voting for the Republicans - "Heck, they're not so different and the Republicans will cut taxes, so I might as well vote for them."

These triangulators made the Democratic party the Republican-light party.  Yet, we're supposed to let them keep driving the car?  These Pelosi Democrats are the ones who've been in power as wages have stagnated, unions have been destroyed, elections have been stolen and the standard of living for most working Americans has stagnated.  They have betrayed their Democratic base and the liberal policies that made this country great in the first place.

It's time for real change.  A new generation of Democratic leaders needs to take the wheel.

The Dumbing Of America

This sure is Trump's America.

Reading Scores on National Exam Decline in Half the States

Republicans Smear A Military Veteran ... Again

The party that (supposedly) loves America, the military and veterans ... smears (again) an American military veteran.

Republicans smear a military combat veteran — because that's just what they do

If You Have No Shame, Ethics Or Common Sense, There's A Place For You In The Republican Party

There is no such thing as climate change.

Liberals and diversity are responsible for natural disasters.

Or so says the Douche-Cabal.

Tucker Carlson And Guest Blame Liberals, Diversity For California Wildfires

You can't make this stuff up.

These losers are destroying American and the planet.


Person Of The Year

A no-brainer for this year's Person Of The Year.

Greta Thunberg Declines Major Climate Prize, Says Planet Doesn’t ‘Need More Awards’The 16-year-old activist was tapped for “breathing new life into the debate surrounding the environment.”

These Assholes Can't Die Soon Enough

TN County Official Goes Off On Homophobic Rant: 'We've Got A Queer Running For President'

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Weekend Reading

Hosting G-7 At Trump's Resort Is 'Profound' Emoluments Breach
Newly Uncovered Tax Documents Show Trump Kept 2 Sets Of Books And May Have Committed Financial Fraud
Andrew Yang Is Full Of It
GOP Group Uses Trump's Own Words On Corruption Against Him In Searing New Fox Ad
High Court Will Review Evers Veto Power
Private School Vouchers Cost $350 Million
Think Trump's Cruelty Is Unique? Meet Robin Vos
What Walker Cost Wisconsin

Medicare For All Would Cost Less, Not More

Pundits and other candidates keep claiming that Elizabeth Warren's and Bernie Sanders's Medicare For All plan is too expensive, a pipe dream, just not realistic.

Yet ...

It Won't Matter, But Medicare For All Would Cost Less And Cover 30 Million Americans
According to the Mercatus model, total health spending would actually come in about $303 billion lower in 2031 than under current projections, with $7.35 trillion going to healthcare that year versus $7.65 trillion expected now. Total national health spending would be $2 trillion lower from 2022 to 2031 under the plan, the report found. While the price tag for the federal government would increase significantly, decreased spending by other groups would lower total healthcare spending over that 10-year period. Meanwhile, the model also assumes that 30 million more people would get access to healthcare, and many people would get more robust services. The savings would come from a variety of places, such as the government's ability to leverage its bargaining power into lower prescription-drug costs and mandating all healthcare providers take the lower Medicare payment rate.
The next time you hear someone repeat the 'Medicare For All would cost too much' talking-point, immediately call bullshit. 

Out Of Touch White Privilege

I generally like Alec Baldwin in his dramatic and comedic acting roles.  Yet, with every passing year, as more of his actions and opinions come to light, he seems to represent the epitome of out of touch, wealthy, white privilege.

Alec Baldwin defends Felicity Huffman: 'The demonisation of wealth in this country is mind blowing'

As Baldwin put it, "I don’t think anyone involved in the college fraud cases should go to prison.  That includes past cases as well.  Community service, fines, yes.  But prison time, no."  

As someone on Twitter responded, "If they can afford hundreds of thousands of $$ to get their kids in [to college], how will a "fine" be a deterrent?"

Baldwin continued, "Community service is better.  The demonization of wealth in this country is mind blowing.  A country built on both freedoms and commerce.  Now, all success is scrutinized.  Merely to succeed, especially financially, invites scrutiny, judgment, abuse."

Wow.  Baldwin is so wrong and out-of-touch here.  There's a lot to unpack.

Yeah, if you can afford half a million dollars to bribe your kid into college, a fine isn't going to mean shit.  The same reason fining billion-dollar companies a few million for their wrongdoing doesn't stop them from continuing to do wrong.

"Demonization of wealth"?  WTF?

Not demonizing wealth at all.  It's just that people whom aren't "wealthy" (99% of the population) are sick of the wealthy cheating, lying, bribing and scamming their way into more privilege and ill-gotten gains.

The wealthy blather on and on about meritocracy - you get what you deserve based on talent, effort, and achievement.  With the wealthy always implying that this is how they made it.  But to believe this we would have to ignore nepotism, tax avoidance, bribery, inheritance and a litany of other schemes and scams the wealthy use to oppress the rest of us.

Baldwin also waxes nostalgic, "A country built on both freedoms and commerce."

Our history of slavery, racism and oppression seems to contradict Baldwin's rose-colored memory of how this country was built.   

Baldwin goes on complaining about success being scrutinized.  

Just the opposite.  This country drones on and on about every other fucking idiot who has made a buck or had an idea, and how great, fantastic and entrepreneurial they are.  Television is littered with wealthy know-nothings prattling on about anything and everything.  This country has a lot of self-loathing in that we keep eating up this shit, believing that these loudmouths have something to say and that they are actually better than anyone else.  Most believe they have some personal setback or inadequacy and that's why they aren't as good as some TV bozo like Donald Trump.  It's all bullshit.

Success being scrutinized?  Fuck that.  We mythologize and romanticize it into our own disadvantage.

In this country, we criticize the poor and the working class.  We're continually reducing wages and/or increasing costs for those whom can least afford it.  For the non-wealthy, retirement accounts are disappearing, benefits are shrinking, wages are stagnating, and health care is either too costly or nonexistent for many.

And, despite this, if anything, this country worships wealth.  It's why people keep voting against their own economic interest.  It's why Donald Trump is in office.  He's a big business man.  He has financially succeeded.  (At least this is what many of his supporters believe.)  And, because he did it, many believe they can too, and that's why they keep voting for cutting taxes on the rich and corporations - because someday they will be rich, too, and they don't want to pay those big taxes then either.

So fuck Alec Baldwin, Felicity Huffman, Lori Laughlin and all those assholes that think a slap on the wrist in fine for the wealthy that cheat the system.  Workers in the U.S. have been struggling for decades based on our worship the wealthy system of governance.  Economic inequality is at an all-time high.  It's well past the time where we should have already cleaned up this mess and punished these wealthy, spoiled perpetrators. 

We lock poor people up for decades of their life for much less than a $500,000 bribe.  It's time the wealthy started facing the same justice as the rest of us.  

I Am So Tired Of Republicons

Wisconsin Supreme Court takes case challenging Gov. Tony Evers' vetoes
Three taxpayers represented by the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty asked the high court in July to take their challenge directly, without making them first go through the lower courts.

The court agreed to do so Wednesday, according online court records. A ruling is expected by summer.

The lawsuit argues Evers exceeded his authority by issuing vetoes that enact policies the Legislature hasn't endorsed. It's a practice that governors from both parties have engaged in for decades. The state Supreme Court has repeatedly sided with governors over the years, granting them extensive veto powers.

Wednesday's decision to take the new challenge means the high court is willing to at least consider whether it should reverse its long-standing precedents. Conservatives control the court 5-2.
The Wisconsin Institute For Law And Liberty [try not to laugh at the ridiculousness and outright misdirection of the organization's name] was formed in 2011.  What has taken them 8 years to challenge the governor's veto powers?  Oh, yeah, if a Republicon is doing the vetoing then it's fine.

The article explains, "Those bringing the lawsuit are asking the court to reverse vetoes that effectively rewrote parts of the budget written by Republicans who control the Legislature."

It continues, "Ordinarily the Supreme Court waits for cases to go through lower courts before taking a case. But Esenberg asked the justices to take the case immediately so that the case could be resolved quickly.  He acknowledged this summer that lower courts would have been required to side with Evers because of Supreme Court precedents. But the high court is free to rule on the case as it sees fit.  Esenberg is seeking to overturn precedents going back to 1935."

No need for a paper trail from the lower courts reiterating the precedent.  Much easier for the conservative State Supreme Court to agree to hear the case and pretend there's no history here to consider.

These Republicons are so slimy and corrupt.

Republicons have no problem ignoring precedent.  They have no problem wasting taxpayer time and money.  This is clearly self-serving, anti-democratic grandstanding.  Another attempt, like gerrymandering, at consolidating their power.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

We Need Less Policing

The Milwaukee Police Department takes up a disproportionately large portion of the City budget.  In the latest budget proposal, the mayor is proposing not filling about 60 positions to help close the budget gap and to use some of the savings to pay pension commitments going forward.

Milwaukee Police Chief Warns Loss Of 60 Positions Could Mean Cutting An Entire Shift

The police department seems to have endlessly increasing costs.  Their budget can never be large enough and the number of officers is never large enough.  More, more, more.  Whether it's their general budget or lawsuits brought against the department, their costs seem to be exponentially rising.  (Scott Walker exempting the police from Act 10 also allowed the police to not have to pay pension contributions and to continue to "bargain" for pay increases every year.)

One glaring omission from the article, there's no comparison or benchmarking.  How many officers should there be for every 10,000 citizens?  What is the typical department size for similarly sized cities?  Does Milwaukee already have more than enough police officers?

Note to journalists - put your topic in context.  Decisions, policies, correct understanding of any issue needs context.  Otherwise, you're just operating in a meaningless vacuum.

Luckily, I previously looked into some of the numbers.  As I discovered, Milwaukee has 42 police employees for every 10,000 people in the City of Milwaukee.  Ranking Milwaukee 14th in the U.S.  The average in the U.S. for cities with a population over 500,000 is 24 police employees for every 10,000 people.  The population of the City of Milwaukee ranks 30th among the 100 largest cities in America.

Milwaukee has almost twice as many police employees as other similar-sized cities.

According to the average of 24 police employees for every 10,000 people, the Milwaukee Police Department should be able to function with roughly 1,440 police employees.

Seems like reducing 60 positions would be a good start.  The City should look at reducing even more in the future.  The costs associated with the police department are not sustainable.  We need to find more cost-effective ways.

And, as Alex S. Vitale, Professor of Sociology, has found:
As Alex S. Vitale proclaims, We Need Less Policing. His research into the issue concludes: 
Any real agenda for police reform should not look to make the police friendlier and more professional. Instead, it must reduce their role and replace it with empowered communities working to solve their own problems. We don’t need community control of the police. We need community control of services that will create safer, more stable neighborhoods and cities. 
In We Don't Just Need Nicer Cops. We Need Fewer Cops Vitale continues: 
We have to take steps to dial back our reliance on the police as the primary tool of resolving neighborhood crime and disorder problems.
Just as almost everyone else has had to, it's time for the police department to start figuring out how to do more with less.

Make America Grift Again

Trump's Tax Cuts Helped Billionaires Pay Less Than The Working Class For First Time

For The First Time In History, U.S. Billionaires Paid A Lower Tax Rate Than The Working Class Last Year

Federal Deficit Estimated At $984 Billion, Highest In Seven Years

Republicans are increasing the deficit, in part, by not taxing the richest Americans.  Again, avoiding paying their fair share and using taxpayer dollars as their own piggybank to reward their cronies. 

Republicans Never-Ending Hypocrisy

Remember when Republicans criticized the auto industry "bailout"?
“Unless Chrysler, Ford and General Motors become lean and innovative and competitive in the market place, this is only delaying their funeral,” said Sen. Richard Shelby, an Alabama Republican and bailout opponent.
It was a colossal waste of money and pointless.

Actually, it was a success.  The auto companies are performing well again and have paid back the "bailout".

Auto workers are union members and usually vote for Democrats, which is the real reason Republicans were against helping them out.

Farmers usually vote Republican ...

And, what most Americans probably don't know, Trump's Farm Bailout Has Cost The Taxpayers More Than Double The Auto Bailout.  (Lets also not forget that Trump's own trade policies exacerbated farmers' problems.)

As Bloomberg reported, "Doling out billions in aid to American farmers, who have become more dependent on government money than they’ve been in years. At $28 billion so far, the farm rescue is more than twice as expensive as the 2009 bailout of Detroit’s Big Three automakers."

This is what the Republican party has become - a spiteful cabal of sycophants and grifters, only concerned with power and cronyism.  Their policies have nothing to do with what is right for America, what would be good for America, but are more concerned with what will buy them votes, keep them in power, and allow them access to the trough of public dollars to reward themselves.

Wisconsin Reading

Beer Made Milwaukee Famous. Can Water Quality Keep The Legacy Alive?
Rethinking State Economic Policies
The Wisconsin Senator Who Keeps Making Things Worse For Trump
Convention Host Cities Tell Milwaukee To Play The Long Game
Scott Fitzgerald Says Trump Hasn't Done Anything Wrong Over Ukraine
New Tool Tracks Milwaukee's Progress, Or Lack Of It, Toward A Knowledge-Based Economy
Assembly Set To Take Another Major Republican Power Grab
When Big Storms Inundate Wisconsin, How Could Wetlands 'Slow The Flow'?

Weekend Reading

The Oceans We Know Won't Survive Climate Change
Tax Aversion And The Legacy Of Slavery
How Slavery Shaped American Capitalism
Amid Trade War, Farmers Lean On New Crop: Hemp
Federal Judge In Trump Tax Case Picks Apart DOJ Rule Barring Indictment Of President
How To Get Away With Gerrymandering
For The First Time In History, U.S. Billionaires Paid A Lower Tax Rate Than The Working Class Last Year
Federal Deficit Estimated At $984 Billion, Highest In Seven Years
No More Half-Measures On Corporate Taxes
How A Brief Socialist Takeover In North Dakota Gave Residents A Public Bank

Elizabeth Warren Slaps Down Homophobia

Intelligence Versus Idiocy

Reject The Status Quo

Billionaires shouldn't exist.  You might be bright, make good financial moves, or even invent magnificent stuff.  You shouldn't be able to hoard generational wealth at the expense of the country that allowed you to do such.

Big tech, and other mega-companies, should be made to pay their fair share and not be allowed to dodge taxes.

Our elections should be fair and free from private money influence.  Citizens United needs to be overturned.

Climate change should be a priority.

American infrastructure needs immediate attention.  From clean water, to clean energy, we need a massive rebuilding of our country's infrastructure to remain relevant and competitive.

These are some of the things Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have been campaigning for during this election cycle.

If the majority of citizens actually want change that benefits the majority of citizens, these are the two candidates that will fight for and deliver such change.  None of the other candidates have shown such consistent, principled and passionate convictions regarding these issues.

Anything less, the status quo will carry on.

Monday, October 7, 2019

What Socialism Really Looks Like

Ron Johnson Is An Idiot

Social Security Myths

These 7 Social Security myths just aren’t true, no matter how often you hear them

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Strauss, Amazon projects force local competition questions
“I’m told there was an informal agreement that no municipality would poach from each other,” Franklin Mayor Steve Olson told the Milwaukee Business Journal. “I’m not sure that’s the case any more.”
That's rich. Suburbs, like Franklin, exist because of poaching.  Suburbs were happy to offer 'economic incentives' to attract formerly good paying jobs and companies away from the central city.  Now that cities are seeing a resurgence and can compete, the suburbs are pretending this (economic development incentives) is some new occurrence.  Perfectly fine when they do it ... but when it happens to them, not so much.

For Further Reading:
Corporate Tax Breaks
Failure of Economic Development Incentives
Grading Places
Industrial Incentives
Rethinking Growth Strategies
Tax and Spending Incentives and Enterprise Zones
The Great American Jobs Scam
Economic Development, Tax Incentives and The Plutocracy It's Creating

Monday, September 30, 2019

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Weekend Reading

Republicans Have Rigged The Maps And Manipulated Elections - Why Won't Democrats Talk About It?
Gerrymandering Is Built On Lies
100-Year Bonds Can Fund Big Infrastructure Projects
No, You Don't Get To Keep 100 Billion Dollars For Yourself
The Green New Deal Is Cheaper Than Climate Change
Vape Safety Requires Legalizing Marijuana
Our Food Is Killing Too Many Of Us
The Looser A State's Gun Laws, The More Mass Shootings It Has
"Unions For All": The New Plan To Save The American Labor Movement
How A Trump Tax Break To Help Poor Communities Became A Windfall For The Rich
The Real Reason General Motors Workers Are On Strike Nationwide
The Future Of U.S. Jobs Look Bleak. Unions Are The Answer.
Trump Just Asked The Supreme Court To Let Him Fire The CFPB's Head. The Implications Are Enormous.
Why Rigged Capitalism Is Damaging Liberal Democracy

The Founding Fathers & The Wisdom Of The 18th Century

Robert Smigel Is A National Treasure

Tom Barrett For Mayor

Tom Barrett stands up for women and children against a pipe-wielding lunatic.

Lena Taylor berates a bank teller over cashing a check.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Republican Deficit Hypocrisy

Electable? Can Beat Trump? Hmmm

Pundits and the status quo keep telling voters it's Joe Biden's race to lose.  He's electable.  He can beat Trump.

Let's review the two other times Joe Biden ran for President.

1984 Democratic National Convention (Presidential tally):
  • Walter Mondale – 2,191 (56.41%)
  • Gary Hart – 1,201 (30.92%)
  • Jesse Jackson – 466 (12.00%)
  • Thomas Eagleton – 18 (0.46%)
  • George McGovern – 4 (0.10%)
  • John Glenn – 2 (0.05%)
  • Joe Biden – 1 (0.03%)
  • Martha Kirkland – 1 (0.03%)
1988 Democratic National Convention (Presidential tally):
  • Michael Dukakis – 2,877 (70.09%)
  • Jesse Jackson – 1,219 (29.70%)
  • Richard H. Stallings – 3 (0.07%)
  • Joe Biden – 2 (0.05%)
  • Dick Gephardt – 2 (0.05%)
  • Lloyd Bentsen – 1 (0.02%)
  • Gary Hart – 1 (0.02%)
Maybe it's time for the Democrats to listen to the people and vote for the candidate with the best ideas for how to move the country forward; instead of looking to the past and pretending it was something it wasn't.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Privatizing The Profits, Socializing The Loses

There the "free" marketeers go again. Milwaukee real estate execs question Housing Authority's high-rise plan.

So, the City is booming. Development, jobs, tourism, new businesses...things are looking up.

As usual, when things start to gentrify, certain people are priced out of the market...yet those workers are still necessary for the booming economy to exist.

Enter affordable housing. Another policy answer to a society that doesn't pay a living-wage. If you're not going to pay a downtown-wage for a downtown-worker, public policy steps in to subsidize and correct the market.

It's as much a subsidy to the employer as it is to the worker. By subsidizing the housing of these workers, the government is allowing the employer to pay below-market wages.

Also, as usual, and wanting to have it both ways, local developers are complaining when the government steps in to correct the market. The Milwaukee Business Journal reported, "The Housing Authority in April introduced its plan, which calls for spending up to $150 million on a high-rise tower with 350 apartments, a mix of market-rate and affordable units."

Tim Gokhman, director of New Land Enterprises, told the Business Journal:
He said if the city has figured out how to generate a profit from a high-rise to subsidize affordable units, “teach the rest of the market how those profits can be attained.”
Because the profits aren't high enough for private developers, because the returns on investment aren't elevated enough, because the government won't just give them the money to do it, private developers are complaining when the government enters the market to provide needed housing for citizens. (Privateers complain when the government does any of the many things the magic "free" market won't do.)

Developers can't have it both ways. They can't claim they're the experts - the "free" market and the private actors have all the answers and will provide as long as the government stays out of the way. But then, in the very next breath, they come to the public for giveaways, tax breaks and other hand-outs they claim the need for their projects.

If the public has to give tax cuts, subsidies and incentives to private actors to get them to do something, why shouldn't the public entity just complete the project?

The private sector does some things well. But it's time we re-realize the same can be said for the public sector.

Sunday Reading

LBOs Make (More) Companies Go Bankrupt, Research Shows
It's Time For The Suburbs To Talk About Race
El Paso, Dayton Make 251 Mass Shootings In The US In 216 Days, More Shootings Than Days In The Year
Tent City Is A Result Of Public Policy
Shining A Light On The Dark-Store Tax Dodge
Trump May Have Made Himself The Recession's Scapegoat
Foxconn Jobs Not Worth The Costs
Costs And Benefits Of A Revised Foxconn Project
The Long Road To Recovery After Years Of Severe Budget Cuts
Lake Michigan Has Swallowed Up 2 Chicago Beaches This Summer. Experts Say The Worst Could Still Be On The Way.
Trumps Says Cities Are 'A Mess.' They're Actually Enjoying A Golden Age.
How 'Developer' Became Such A Dirty Word
How Economists' Faith In Markets Broke America

Problem Solved

Walmart Removes Violent Video Game Displays After Shootings, Still Sells Guns

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Wisconsin Reading

When Socialists Swept Milwaukee
Why GOP Opposes Federal Medicaid Funds
The Incredible Shrinking Foxconn Plant
House passes $5M for Great Lakes Hyperloop that slots Milwaukee for Phase 2
Regrets, He Has A Few: Robin Vos Wanted To Do Even More For Wealthy In Wisconsin
Wisconsin's GOP Speaker Says He Wants To Consider Legalizing Medical Marijuana, Just After Rejecting Governor's Plan
State's Loss on Federal ACA is $1.3 Billion
Supreme Court's Gerrymandering Decision Fails Wisconsin

Weekend Reading: Economics Edition

Society-Wide Benefits of Raising The Minimum Wage
The Puzzle In The Labor Data
The Trump Tax Reform, As Seen In The U.S. Balance Of Payments Data
Why The 'Free-Market' Economy Is A Myth And How To Rebuild Public Power
The Failures of Neoliberalism Are Bigger Than Politics
What Kansas's Rebounding Economy Tells Us About The Farce of Republican Tax Cuts
How The Federal Government Rigs The Game Against Small Businesses
Make Corporations Pay For The Green New Deal
Rich Get Richer, Everyone Else Not So Much In Record U.S. Expansion
Unions Did Great Things For The Working Class

Weekend Reading

The Deepening Crisis In Evangelical Christianity
USA's formidable women's soccer team is no accident. It's a product of public policy
What You Need To Know About The Citizenship Question And The Census
Are Beyond Meat And Impossible Burgers Better For You? Nutritionists Weigh In.
The Tool That Local Economic Developers Should Rely On
Wanted: Public Employees Who Live Where They Work

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Republicans: The Real Hypocritical, Crybaby Snowflakes

Republicans Seek to Limit Governor’s Veto
McConnell Would Fill Potential Supreme Court Vacancy In 2020, Reversal Of 2016 Stance
Republicans who held 33 hearings on Benghazi complain that Cohen’s testimony was a waste of time
Republican Leaders Vow to Obstruct State Budget, Then Complain About Lack of Negotiations
To GOP, Obama’s immigration orders were ‘executive overreach.’ What is it when Trump does it?
Sparks fly on Fox News as liberal nails Republican hypocrisy on outside questioning of Barr: ‘Like they did with Kavanaugh?’
Why are Republicans so cruel to the poor? Paul Ryan's profound hypocrisy stands for a deeper problem
The Republican hypocrisy over Ilhan Omar's comment
More Republican Hypocrisy On Separation Of Powers
The Appalling Hypocrisy Of The Republican Party Exposed In Three Simple Charts