Saturday, March 30, 2019


Republican Cover-Up Reading

Has "Cover-Up General" William Barr Struck Again?
Why Trump's "No Collusion" Victory Lap Is Premature
Comey: 'It Doesn't Make Sense' That Mueller Didn't Rule On Obstruction Of Justice
Mueller Report Exceeds 300 Pages, Raising Questions About Four-Page Summary

Wisconsin Reading

GOP Redistricting Edge Moderated Democrats' 2018 Gains
WEDC Awards $7.5 Million In Tax Credits To Amazon For Wisconsin Projects
The Arrogance Of Robin Vos
Scott Walker Has A New Job
Scott Walker To Head 'Slow Moving Coup' To Repeal-And-Replace U.S. Constitution
Great Lakes States Are Warming Faster Than The Rest Of The Country, More Flooding Is In Store

Where's The Report?

If the Mueller report exonerates Donald Trump, why isn't William Barr releasing it in it's entirety?  What's with the delay?  You can't really say the report clears Donald Trump of any wrongdoing and then keep the report hidden. If the report clears Trump, why would you redact anything from it unless you're trying to hide something.

So shameless that the supposed party of law, order and values has such malleable principles.  Or should I say no principles at all.  What an embarrassment.

Weekend Reading

Do Corporate Tax Incentives Work? 20 States, And Most Cities, Don't Know
Trump Nominates Famous Idiot Stephen Moore To Federal Reserve Board
Neil Gorsuch's Bad-Faith Ploy To Save Partisan Gerrymandering And Doom American Democracy
Fossil Fuel Industry Gave $2,371,680 To Senate Democrats Who Blocked Green New Deal
Putting Number In Context: A Winnable Battle Our Side Doesn't Want To Fight
The 4 Arguments In Defense Of The Electoral College Are Wrong
Why You Shouldn't Listen To Self-Serving Optimists Like Hans Rosling And Steven Pinker

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

The Corruption & Dismantling Of Our Democracy Continues

Investigations into extra-marital blow jobs have to be made public, but the investigations that have led to 34 indictments involving campaign shenanigans and collusion/acquiescence with foreign government interference, that information can only be slowly disseminated, if at all.  Kenneth Starr's report, concerning the Clinton affair, was delivered directly to Congress to do with as they saw fit.  Why are we allowing William Barr to decide and summarize what should be made available to Congress and the public?

Monica Lewinsky's reaction to the Mueller report 'just won tweet of 2019'
The former White House intern was herself the subject of an investigation by an independent counsel, Kenneth Starr, for her affair with then-President Bill Clinton. She was a central figure in Clinton’s 1998 impeachment hearing. 
While Clinton was ultimately acquitted by the Senate, many have drawn comparisons between Starr’s rigorous pursuit and how the Mueller report findings — which many Democrats are demanding to be made public — has been handled. 
When USC law professor Orin Kerr noted that President Trump has had the privilege of so far keeping the full report under wraps, whereas every last dirty detail of the Starr Report was up for grabs, Lewinsky couldn’t help but weigh in.
Mueller’s report must show ‘something pretty damning’ about Trump
Barr’s letter revealed something unexpected about the obstruction issue: that Mueller said that his “report does not conclude that the President committed a crime” but that “it also does not exonerate him.” The report does not exonerate the president? That’s a stunning thing for a prosecutor to say. Mueller didn’t have to say that.

If his report doesn’t exonerate the president, there must be something pretty damning in it about him, even if it might not suffice to prove a crime beyond a reasonable doubt. And in saying that the report “catalogued the President’s actions, many of which took place in public view,” Barr’s letter makes clear that the report also catalogues actions taken privately that shed light on possible obstruction, actions that the American people and Congress yet know nothing about.
And, as Andrew Prokop notes:
Barr’s summary mentions nothing about ... well, many, many other topics related to the Trump team and Russia that we know Mueller has investigated. These include: 
Barr’s summary tells us nothing of what became of Mueller’s inquiries into all these matters.
There's plenty of illegality we still need to get to the bottom of with Donald Trump and his enablers.

For Further Reading:
Rudy Giuliani goes off script and reveals on CNN that the Mueller report hardly vindicates Trump
Why Trump’s “no collusion” victory lap is premature

Tuesday, March 26, 2019


Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Indictments And Convictions

Enough of the right-wing's congratulatory bellowing about the supposed exoneration conclusion of the Mueller report. Not even close.

As Nicole Hemmer wrote:
Over the past two years, Mueller sorted through the complex story of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Not only did he conclude that a foreign power indeed interfered in the race, Mueller also secured indictments against 34 people, including six members of the Trump campaign in both financial and election-related cases, with charges ranging from conspiracy to obstruction to making false statements to witness tampering. Everyone within U.S. jurisdiction who was indicted by Mueller has been found guilty or has pleaded guilty except for Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone, who is awaiting trial. (Mueller also charged 26 Russians in crimes including conspiracy to defraud the United States and aggravated identity theft; they remain at large.)
As Bloomberg reported, "The Special Counsel states that “while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him. Unlike the collusion finding, this conclusion—or lack of it—could pose problems for Trump going forward. Democrats in Congress are likely to address the obstruction issue on their own."

For Further Reading:
Indictments and convictions
Mueller's investigation is done. Here are the 34 people he indicted along the way

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Amazon & Dead Zones

Weekend Reading

Shopko Creditors: $117 Million In Dividends Paid To Owners 'Fraudulent,' 'Illegal'
401(K)s Versus 403(B)s
Sigh....No, Tax Cuts Won't Boost Growth
Supreme Court Sides With Union Giving Milwaukee County Employees $6.8 Million Pension Benefit
Make Corporations Pay For Green New Deal
The Rapid Decline Of The Natural World Is A Crisis Even Bigger Than Climate Change
Study Finds Racial Gap Between Who Causes Air Pollution And Who Breathes It
Here's What Republicans And Billionaires Really Mean When They Talk About 'Freedom'
Wisconsin Judge Blocks Republicans' Lame-Duck Power Grab
Study Cited In Wisconsin Debate On Expanding Medicaid And Taking Federal Money Called 'Garbage'
Make America Great Again By Raising The Minimum Wage

Taking Real Action Against Gun Violence

'What Real Action to Stop Gun Violence Looks Like': New Zealand PM Announces Ban on Assault Rifles After Christchurch Massacre
Just six days after a white supremacist gunman killed 50 people and injured dozens more at two mosques in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Thursday that the country will ban all military-style semi-automatic weapons, assault rifles, and high-capacity magazines.
WOW!  Acting expeditiously with common sense, a government actually getting something done, in the interest of the people.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Not All Conservatives Are Filled With Rage, But Most Of Those Filled With Rage Are Conservative

The Power of Petty Personal Rage
The point is that demented anger is a significant factor in modern American political life — and overwhelmingly on one side. All that talk about liberal “snowflakes” is projection; if you really want to see people driven wild by tiny perceived slights and insults, you’ll generally find them on the right. Nor is it just about racism and misogyny. Although these are big components of the phenomenon, I don’t see the obvious connection to hamburger paranoia. 
Just to be clear: To paraphrase John Stuart Mill, I’m not saying that most conservatives are filled with rage over petty things. What I’m saying instead is that most of those filled with such rage are conservatives, and they supply much of the movement’s energy. Not to put too fine a point on it, pathological pettiness almost surely put Donald Trump over the top in the 2016 election.

Bucking Convention

Sorry to rain on the parade.

Milwaukee should be leery, careful and realistic with their assumptions and expectations regarding hosting the Democratic National Convention.

In general, events like this are a boom for some and a bust for others. And, if you're lucky, you'll break even. Yet, hosting these events is far from a no-brainer, win-win for everyone.

As U.S News reported:
According to economists Robert Baade, Robert Baumann and Victor Matheson – who looked at the effect of every national political convention between 1970 and 2005 – such events "have a negligible impact on local economies." They found that "neither the presence of the Republican nor the Democratic National Convention has a discernable impact on employment, personal income, or personal income per capita in the cities where the events were held."
As another researcher put it:
By focusing on the 'bright, shiny object' of a political convention, we might be losing focus on the real economic fundamentals that could bring long-term prosperity.
Milwaukee has already been transforming itself and the region - without an expanded convention center, without a political convention, etc.  The Democratic National Convention might be fun and lucrative for some, but don't expect long-term gains from this political circus.  At best, Milwaukeans should hope for infrastructure improvements coinciding with the convention - roads, rail, water, electric, etc. - that will also benefit the city as a whole.

For Further Reading:
Rejecting “Conventional” Wisdom: Estimating the Economic Impact of National Political Conventions 
American Cities and the Politics of Party Conventions

Tucker Carlson Is A Creep

Tucker Carlson is called out for being misogynistic, racist and homophobic.  Rather than apologizing or trying to move forward, instead he belittles other media figures, media organizations, etc.  He claims he is being persecuted by do-gooders looking for attention.  It has nothing to do with his behavior; which he describes as simply out of the mainstream and just a different point of view.  [Listen to the recordings.  Anyone with a brain would not claim this is just a point-of-view difference.  Carlson is clearly misogynistic, racist and homophobic.]

It's well-known Fox has been normalizing racism, hatred, cronyism, white nationalism and pretty much every other negative behavior...and then blaming everyone else when negative outcomes occur.

But, somehow, this is all Media Matters' fault.  Yes, you're the bad guy when you point out someone else's bad behavior.

Carlson also had the gall to claim Media Matters aligned with a political party and whined about how unsavory that is.  It's illegal for a media organization to align with one political party.  Um, hey Fox News guy, project much?

So ... much ... delusion.

Any Democrat Will Do 2020

So many good candidates and good ideas.  Hopefully the Democratic Party can coalesce into a strong, coherent platform with unwavering candidates for President and Vice President.

Elizabeth Warren wants to break up Apple too
The Democratic Party Wants to Make Climate Policy Exciting
Cory Booker’s plan to fight wealth inequality: give poor kids money
Sen. Sanders’ College for All Act
Bernie Sanders's new Medicare-for-all plan, explained
Warren Proposes Universal Child Care Plan Funded by Wealth Tax

End Welfare...Unless It's For Me

The conservative, free market, anti-socialism boosters sure do love welfare and market-intervention when it benefits them.

Amount of cash provided to developers by Wisconsin communities limited by Evers' budget proposal.
Evers' budget plan includes a provision targeting communities which provide financing help for commercial developments through tax incremental financing districts...

The governor's 2019-'21 budget proposal, released Thursday night, would limit cash grants for developers to 20 percent of a tax financing district's project costs.
One of the private sector shills whined,
It "would undo years of bipartisan work to create the most important, and really the only tool Wisconsin municipalities have to spur economic development and create jobs," said Jim Villa, chief executive officer of the Wisconsin chapter of NAIOP, formerly known as the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties.
As I wrote in a previous post, “Another much touted, yet becoming ever more so destructive, policy tool is tax incremental financing (TIF). These were initially established to bring investment to blighted, low-income areas. But nowadays, more states are loosening their eligibility requirements and allowing affluent areas to reap the benefits. TIFs allow a municipality to issue a bond to pay for part of the costs of the new development. The property tax revenue generated by the development is then used to pay off the bonds. Some municipalities also allow sales tax increments, where the sales tax generated by the new development can be diverted to redevelopment costs.”

In essence, using taxpayer money (cheap credit from a municipality) to finance speculative development where the rewards benefit the usual cast of characters at the expense of the community at large.

And, to claim this is the only tool municipalities have to spur economic development and create jobs, is complete horseshit.  By providing good public transportation options, broadband access, modern water and electrical infrastructure, and adequately funding public education, the public sector can spur economic development and create jobs. 

This is just the gravy train crying because someone is trying to cut off some of their corporate welfare.  

Governor Tony Evers merely wants to bring back some of the original intent and more accountability to tax incremental financing.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Cows Are (Part Of) The Problem

Kansas rancher sends letter to Ocasio-Cortez fact-checking the Green New Deal

Big surprise a cattle rancher wouldn't admit to methane being part of the problem.  [Just as oil companies don't admit fossil fuels pollute.]

Yes, they provide food.  But they also pollute.

As one article noted, "What remains undisputed is that animal husbandry does generate harmful emissions.  Firstly, the animals themselves release emissions — cows, for example, produce methane gas in the digestion process. In addition, the entire industry contributes to the greenhouse gas effect, from the fertilizer on the fields to the transport of feed for the animals and the use of milking machines."

Another article explains, "Livestock are responsible for about 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).  According to calculations by some experts, this puts the livestock sector on par with transport. The U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says transport is responsible for 14 percent of emissions.  Ruminants such as cattle, buffalo, sheep and goats produce nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide and methane, which is the most emitted gas and is released through belching."

As The New York Times put it, "The impact of agriculture, a category that includes everything from growing lettuce to raising livestock, is tricky to express because the gasses produced — mostly methane and nitrous oxide — have much more warming potential than carbon dioxide but also dissipate more quickly. According to the latest thinking, though, farming is responsible for the equivalent of 574 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States each year and 56 million metric tons in Canada.  That’s about 8 percent of each country’s total greenhouse gas emissions...Worldwide, livestock accounts for between 14.5 percent and 18 percent of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions."

NPR wrote, "Livestock is a major source of greenhouse gases worldwide. About quarter of the methane emissions due to human activity in the U.S. can be chalked up to gas released from these animals, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency."

Again, the Green New Deal isn't about getting rid of cows, planes and everything else we've come to know.  It's about recognizing the impact of our many different lifestyle choices and working to modify our behaviors so we make less of a negative influence on the planet.  It's really all about ensuring our own survival and the survival of the planet.

So, sorry ranchers, coal miners and fossil fuelers, we need to make some changes in the way we live. These aren't the first industries in the history of mankind that have had to adjust to environmental or other factors.  And, they won't be the last.  But to keep arguing against what the science is clearly telling us ... we're only hurting ourselves and the planet.

For Further Reading:
Methane isn’t just cow farts

Tired Of Winning Yet?

Daily Show Reminds Us How Bat Shit Crazy The Right-Wing Has Been

Tagalongs: The Story Of The Thin Skin Mints

Let's take a trip down the path of conservative (il)logic:  Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was a Girl Scout.  Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is an evil communist.  Therefore, you must stop buying Girl Scout cookies.

This is the current Republican party.

This is where their priorities are at today.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez expertly shuts down conservatives calling for boycott after learning she was a Girl Scout

Just when I think the conservatives can't stoop any lower ... I realize there is no limit to the depths the Republicans will descend.

Take that Girl Scouts!!!