From what I have read about the House and Senate heath insurance bills…it sounds like the states who accepted the Medicaid expansion will fair far better than those states that didn’t. So Governor Walker…it’s time to accept the Medicaid expansion portion of the Affordable Care Act before it’s too late to do so. And it would actually help with some of your budget issues as well…imagine that!

P.S. as I’ve railed before…none of these are health care acts…they are health insurance acts…they have no affect on how health care is delivered…just on how it’s paid for.

In Scott Walker’s Wisconsin, the First Amendment Only Applies to Certain People : From there, we skip up to Wisconsin, where the state’s university system remains stubbornly unimpressed with the Republican legislature and with the leadership of Scott Walker, the goggle-eyed homunculus hired by Koch Industries to manage this particular Midwest subsidiary. You may have been following the various fights on college campuses regarding “controversial” speakers and the reaction against them. (If you’re a regular reader of right-wing media, you believe that mere anarchy has been loosed upon the world. Just lie down with a cold compress for a while.) There are “free speech” advocates on both sides of the big ditch here, exercising their First Amendment rights at the top of their lungs and, occasionally, exercising their First Amendment right of assembly in a fashion thought to be too vigorous.

Health Law Repeal Leaves Nevada Republican Torn Between Lawmakers : Senator Dean Heller, Republican of Nevada, is the man everyone wants. This has not been a good thing for him. Brian Sandoval, the governor of Mr. Heller’s home state, is a Republican, but he is counting on Mr. Heller to provide what could be a crucial vote to maintain President Barack Obama’s health care law, which has been a boon for the working poor in Nevada. Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader who this week will be rounding up votes to fulfill his party’s biggest promise of the last decade — repealing the Affordable Care Act — is trying to prevent Mr. Heller from undermining that goal.

To Make Sense of American Politics, Immigrants Find Clues From Lands They Left : Waves of immigrants from around the world have transformed Houston into one of America’s most diverse and most international cities. They fled countries with dysfunctional governments, oppressive rulers, shoestring democracies, ethnic warfare and mass violence, and have found themselves rubbing elbows and bumpers in a wealthy Texas city where potholes, traffic, mosquitoes and pension reform are some of the biggest concerns. They are just as opinionated about America in the Trump era as any talk-show talking head, but their analyses, like their accents, are their own.

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the floor is yours!


The Man Behind Trump’s Voter-Fraud Obsession : “Some of the problems of governance in the United States today stem from an excess of democracy,” Kris Kobach likes to bill himself as “the A.C.L.U.’s worst nightmare.” The Kansas secretary of state, who was a champion debater in high school, speaks quickly for a rural Midwesterner, with the confidence of a man who holds degrees from Harvard, Oxford and Yale Law School, and until January he hosted his own local radio show, which used that line about the A.C.L.U. to introduce each episode.

President Trump’s misleading claims about new mines and ‘clean coal’ : Trump said the Paris agreement is hurting the development of the coal industry in America, where “mines are starting to open up,” and where the agreement is blocking the development of “clean coal.” Is that really the case?

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A number of interesting stories have popped up recently about new developments on a controversial power line that would run from Iowa through the Driftless Area in Wisconsin to Madison. Check out some of the background noise: here and here.

Of course environmentalists oppose the power line on principal and that isn’t unexpected. But the Driftless Area is truly an amazing part of Wisconsin and I can’t imagine too many residents of the area would want it bisected by a massive power line either. But I don’t know how much clout individuals will have over the moneyed power brokers (pun intended) and their influence with Wisconsin government. This really hasn’t gotten much public traction yet.

And there is the issue of the need for the power line…apparently demand for power isn’t growing as fast as sources of power and Wisconsin has plenty of electricity for the foreseeable future. So we really don’t even need the extra power that this transmission line would bring to Wisconsin…EXCEPT

there is increased interest in green power or renewable power and this transmission line would bring wind power generated in Iowa to the Madison area!

Advocates for more renewable power say shifting to wind requires bigger transmission systems to move power around.

Wisconsin received 3.4% of its electricity from wind last year — up from 2.6% in 2015, according to PSC documents.

But the mix of wind is expected to grow.

With more wind turbines in development in Iowa and elsewhere, and the price of wind power falling, “we are seeing a pretty quick transition in the Midwest and a pretty big increase in wind,” said Tyler Huebner, executive director of Renew Wisconsin.

“We need a more robust system to take advantage of it.”

Which begs the question…wouldn’t we be better served by building wind mills here to generate electricity? Wouldn’t those jobs and revenues and taxes and so on be better if located in Wisconsin? The wind might be better in a plains state like Iowa but Wisconsin is hardly a windless vista. It gets plenty windy here too.

So why aren’t we building wind mills here? We have the manufacturing expertise. We have enough open land. We have enough skilled workers. We already have companies that build towers and rebuild worn generation equipment.

And we have a governor opposed to renewables and wind power in particular. It is really really time that Wisconsin stepped up to the 21st Century and generated it’s own renewables and stopped ‘outsourcing’ green power to the neighbors. We aren’t making any sense on this one.

Yesterday I received a letter asking for a contribution from the Tammy Baldwin for Senate campaign. I supported Senator Baldwin in 2012 with my wallet and my vote. I love what she has done for Wisconsin and the nation since being elected to the Senate. I will continue to support her in her run for re-election in 2018 and I will endorse her and hope that she wins! I know she will continue to be a solid supporter of everything that is right about the United States.

But yesterday I received a letter asking for a contribution…the fourth one that I have received in recent months…and they have all led with the story from a Poynette town hall where a hate filled constituent held a sign that read “Terminate Unwanted Lesbians”. I realize the hate here. I realize that we can’t reward bigotry. I realize that our current president has emboldened bigots of every timbre. I realize that Senator Baldwin is a very conspicuous target for this kind of hatred. Yes, it makes my blood boil.

But please…when writing to the faithful…we don’t need to continue to deliver this same message again and again and again. I got it the first time. It was a despicable act by a bigot. And I don’t want you or anyone else to be silent in the face of that bigotry and hatred.

But right now I need to hear a positive message from Democrats at all levels of government and running in races in every city and state. What is our message? What are we going to do to help the poor, the unemployed, the uninsured, and yes, all of those at the receiving end of hatred and bigotry.

I am tired of being told I need to contribute out of fear. I am tired of hearing the negative over and over again as a motivator for my participation. I know it’s going to be a tough election. I know it’s going to take a lot of money. I know you will draw national opposition. I know you will be smeared again and again.

But when they go low, I want to see you go high. I am not seeing that…yet.

Trump Is Offering Populism, Minus the Free Candy : The thing about populism is it usually involves doing things that are popular. This is something that European nationalists and Latin American strongmen have long known. When they come to power, they aim to deliver concrete benefits to their supporters, even at the cost of their nations’ long-term fiscal health. President Trump has delivered on some of the things he promised supporters on the campaign trail: He has appointed a conservative Supreme Court justice; begun more aggressive enforcement of immigration laws; and directed his appointees to slash regulations on fossil fuel and other industries. But in terms of spending, Mr. Trump has embraced the austere preferences of congressional Republicans, even when that approach has contradicted his campaign promises.

Al Franken and Olivia Wilde: Calling a Lie a Lie : Twenty years before Kellyanne Conway seized the news cycle with “alternative facts” about President Trump’s inaugural crowd size, Al Franken (now, Senator Al Franken) began a satirical cottage industry to expose the seemingly loose grasp on truth of various right-wing pundits in such books as “Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right.” Nearly 50 years before that, George Orwell published his dystopian classic, “Nineteen Eighty-Four,” with its “Ministry of Truth” for falsifying historical events and “double-think,” the simultaneous acceptance of two contradictory ideas as true. The 1949 novel became a best-seller again after the Trump inauguration.

Create an Economy for Everyone : Tax breaks for the most wealthy continue to be the Republican Party’s central economic plan. TrumpCare contains $600 billion in tax cuts for America’s wealthiest. Speaker Vos and the Assembly Republican Caucus recently introduced a transportation proposal that would institute a flat income tax in Wisconsin, cutting taxes for millionaires by 50 percent. Wisconsin Republicans slipped the biggest corporate tax giveaway in Wisconsin’s history, the Manufacturing and Agriculture Tax Credit (MAC), into the 2011-2013 budget at the very last minute. Designed to nearly eliminate state tax responsibility of manufacturers and big agricultural producers, the MAC is projected to cost $654 million over the next two years. However, businesses don’t have to create one job to get it, and, in fact, they can outsource jobs and still claim this credit.

more later:

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Local political activist and friend of Blogging Blue has thrown his hard hat into the ring for Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District in 2018, a seat currently held by House Speaker Paul Ryan:

A Democratic veteran and iron worker announced Monday he will challenge Republican Paul Ryan for Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District in 2018.

The long-shot bid will pit Randy Bryce against the most powerful member of the U.S. House. Ryan, former vice presidential candidate and current House speaker, has held the district in southeastern Wisconsin since 1999.

Bryce, a union leader who served in the U.S. Army, lost races for the Wisconsin’s Legislature in 2012 and 2014 and lost a 10-way primary for Racine County Board of Education in 2013. Bryce said he’s learned from the losses and is planning to raise at least $2 million for this run.

“I’ve learned a lot,” Bryce said. “The people of Wisconsin know who I am. I have community roots.”

A spokesman for Ryan had no immediate comment.

You don’t need to ask who we are supporting!