By M.D. Kittle MacIver News Service | June 15, 2017
[Madison, Wis...] Gov. Scott Walker's plan to move the state's approximately 250,000 employees and their family members to a self-insurance system is expected to be officially pronounced dead today by the Joint Finance Committee.
"We are going to say no to self-insurance," state Rep. Mary Felzkowski, R-Irma, told MacIver News Service Wednesday.
But Felzkowski, a member of the budget committee, said the Republican-controlled JFC has a "suite of ideas" to draw savings from the current state health insurance system - perhaps more than $50 million worth after 2018.
That's important. The Walker administration projects the self-insurance proposal could save taxpayers $65 from the basic switch, and an additional $43 million in secondary costs. Opting not to change to a self-insurance model could cost employees significant increases in premiums, and self-insurance would keep the so-called Obamacare tax at bay, saving the state about $22 million.
Joint Finance Committee co-chairman, state Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette) has said those savings are disingenuous because the Obamacare tax has yet to be collected and "there's no evidence to show it will be collected in the future."
The Legislative Fiscal Bureau has estimated savings from a self-insurance makeover at about $47 million. One consultant's report said the switch could end up costing the state money.
Walker's 2017-19 budget plan uses the projected savings to help increase funding for public education.
Under the self-insurance model, the state would be responsible for paying benefits and taking on the risk for losses, currently the responsibility of 18 private HMOs. READ it HERE
It is long past time that we addressed the perversion of our educational system into a political platform for the radical left.
Commentary by David Horowitz, The Daily Caller 6.15.2017
It is no secret that, as the radical left moved from protesting on campuses in the ‘60s to infiltrating those campuses as educators in the decades since, American colleges and universities have been fundamentally transformed from institutions of higher learning to mills of political indoctrination. Through the leftwing schools of education and activist figures like terrorist Bill Ayers, a “distinguished professor of early childhood education” and editor of a series of manuals on teaching “social justice in secondary schools, the tentacles of that indoctrination now latch onto youthful minds beginning in kindergarten.
By the time today’s young college arrivals first unpack in their dorms, they are shoddily educated but already steeped in leftwing propaganda. They can barely read, have no appreciation for our country’s past except what anti-Americanism they have absorbed from communist historians like Howard Zinn, and are utterly ignorant of civics and the Constitution. But they have been steeped in social justice ideologies which see the world through the Marxist lens of victimhood and oppression. Make that white male capitalist oppression.
In an incident typical of the new pedagogy, a Staten Island sixth-grader came home last month with a politicized vocabulary assignment that disparaged Republican President Donald Trump while praising his Democratic predecessor Barack Obama.
In Maryland last year parents sued a school district for requiring that its high schoolers write and recite the Islamic profession of faith, while no such requirement existed – or could exist – for reciting the Lord’s Prayer, since that would allegedly violate the separation of church and state. Immersing students in Islamic faith is routine, of course, in California schools. In Maryland the schools spent two weeks studying Islam as opposed to a single day spent learning about Christianity or Judaism. This imbalance in religious instruction has become a common theme across the United States today as educators promote a rosy-eyed version of Islam.
This year Washington State schools will begin implementing new health and physical education standards which require students to learn about “gender identity” and “gender expression” beginning in kindergarten.
Last January an activist group within the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers called the Caucus of Working Educators launched an optional lesson plan for the city’s kindergarten-to-12th grade students that included six days of social justice action. From “The Revolution Is Always Now” coloring pages for the younger kids to a science lesson about the biology of skin color for the older ones, the focus was on imbuing children with a heightened awareness of alleged racial inequalities and white privilege, fostering feelings of resentment and guilt.
READ it HERE
By Thomas Lifson, June 14, 2017 American Thinker
A gunman now identified as James Hodgkinson attempted a massacre of members of the GOP Congressional Baseball Team, practicing for a planned charity game against the Congressional Democrats Thursday night. The only reason the entire contingent of reps and aides were not slaughtered was the presence of a security detail of the Capitol Police, guarding a member to the majority leadership. Their armed response, which wounded both, staved off Hodgkinson’s intended killing spree (he shot more than 50 rounds), presumably pinning him down until police arrived a reported few minutes later.
It is most unfortunate for the Left that Hodgkinson is reportedly a Bernie fan, self-identified progressive. But it is evident that this was a crime of opportunity, not a well planned operation. Reportedly, Congressman Ron DeSantis was leaving early and encountered the man, who asked him who they were. He answered that it was a Congressional baseball team. Hodgkinson asked, “Which party?”
Hodgkinson is from Illinois, and it is not known why he was in Washington. But he seems to have traveled with an armory of sorts, which must have been in his car's trunk, parked nearby. Now, why would a deranged rabid progressive bring a lot of ammunition and at least one gun to the nation's capital? Doesn't it seem reasonable to wonder if this was just the first opportunity he got to enact violence against a target the Left agrees is evil: the GOP?
READ it HERE
First Lady Melania Trump Invites Supporters To Wish The President A Happy Birthday on June 14th
Say a prayer that God protect him and give him heroic virtue
Send handwritten card (even if a little late)
President Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW,
Washington, DC 20500
Call and leave a Happy Birthday! message: White House Phone Line (202) 456-1111
By Gerry Urbanek June 10, 2017 at Western Journalism.com
In honor of President Donald Trump’s 71st birthday, first lady Melania Trump is inviting supporters of the president to sign a birthday card (not included in this blog post - sorry!) in anticipation of upcoming celebrations Wednesday.
“I need your help to make it a birthday my husband will never forget,” she wrote in an email to supporters.
Continuing the greeting, Melania Trump expressed her appreciation for the loyalty of her husband’s supporters and their loyalty for both the president and for the Republican Party.
“Our celebrations always include family and close friends,” she said. “You have certainly proven yourself to be a loyal friend of my husband through your support of his positive vision to Make America Great Again and your unwavering commitment to the Republican Party,” she continued.
Melania concluded your birthday greetings would mean a lot to the president.
Trump says he, Walker negotiating with electronics manufacturer to bring jobs to Wisconsin
Milwaukee, June 13, 2017 WiscPolitics.com
WAUKESHA — President Donald Trump said during his visit today he and Gov. Scott Walker have engaged in talks with major electronics manufacturer about bringing jobs to Wisconsin.
“Just backstage, we were negotiating with a major, major incredible manufacturer of phones and computers and televisions and I think they’re going to give the governor a very happy surprise very soon,” Trump said during a roundtable discussion at Waukesha County Technical College, according to a pool report.
Trump did not disclose the name of the company. Trump held the roundtable with a group of 20 participants including state officials, education officials, manufacturing representatives and students following a tour of the college. The event was closed to local press.
Trump praised the facilities at WCTC, which he said “aren’t your normal lecture halls. But in a certain way, they are far more beautiful. You learn incredible skills like welding and repair.”
According to the pool report, Trump said “one of the most important questions facing” young people is access to training and education to get good-paying jobs.
He noted while he was in college there were some who didn’t have a lot of ability or didn’t like what they were doing, but were good at working on things such as engines. It is those people he is trying to help, he said, according to the pool report.
Trump said the trades keep the nation going. “We are going to do everything we can to make sure more young people have opportunities,” said Trump, who announced that he would release another portion of his apprenticeship initiative Wednesday.
Trump also praised Walker’s $3.9 million apprenticeship initiative, which provides grants to place high school students into apprenticeships.
Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, noted during the campaign business leaders said they had problems finding skilled labor and that technical colleges were helping to meet that need. READ it HERE
by Kay Nolan June 10, 2017 Milwaukee WiscPolitics.com
MILWAUKEE — Vice President Mike Pence on Saturday promised that people with pre-existing conditions “will have access to the coverage and care they need, no exceptions” under the GOP plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act
Pence declared President Trump “believes in states-based solutions” for Medicare and Medicaid and would urge states to make their own decisions.
“Under this administration, Gov. Walker will be able to bring Wisconsin solutions to meet the unique health-care challenges facing the people of Wisconsin,” Pence told those assembled at Direct Supply, a Milwaukee company that provides equipment, furniture and expertise to senior living communities.
In introducing Pence, Walker said he was proud that Wisconsin had not created an exchange under Obamacare and that his administration had also declined to take a federal Medicaid expansion offered through the Affordable Care Act.
Walker called Obamacare “broken” and said that if not repealed, 28 million Americans will not have insurance by 2026. That figure comes from a Congressional Budget Office report that also found 52 million would be uninsured that year under the GOP plan that cleared the House.
Dems focused on the additional 24 million that would not have insurance under the GOP plan as they slammed Pence’s speech.
“Kicking vulnerable people off of their health care insurance isn’t the Wisconsin way,” said state Dem Chair Martha Laning. “These aren’t just numbers, these are real people and we need to prioritize taking care of our most vulnerable Wisconsinites.”
Several Republican state lawmakers were in the audience, including Rep. Jim Ott, R-Mequon; Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills; Rep. Ken Skowronski, R-Franklin; and U.S. Reps. Glenn Grothman, of Glenbeulah, and U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, of Menomonee Falls.
The crowd applauded loudly when Pence praised Walker as “one of the best governors in the history of the Wisconsin and in the history of this country.” Pence successfully prompted a standing ovation when he praised House Speaker Paul Ryan and Sen. Ron Johnson, both of Wisconsin, for their pledge to repeal Obamacare.
Pence, who also touted Trump’s support of the Keystone and Dakota pipelines the decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, told the audience the president “has signed more laws into effect and rolled back more red tape than any president in American history.”
“Donald Trump has a three-part agenda: jobs, jobs, jobs,” Pence said.
Pence told the crowd Julie Champine spoke of her health care woes during a private roundtable discussion, held in a separate room with Walker, business owners and others. Pence said Champine, who works from home, “literally cannot afford Obamacare” and that her premiums have risen higher than her mortgage.
by Stephen B. Presser, American Spectator June 9, 2017
Can Comey’s account be trusted?
Perhaps the most interesting moment of the hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee yesterday occurred when former FBI Director James Comey was being questioned on his interactions with President Donald Trump by Senator Angus King (I-Maine). The precise matter being addressed was whether the President had ordered Comey to stop investigating former Presidential advisor General Michael Flynn. Comey testified that Mr. Trump and he had both agreed that Flynn was “a good guy,” and Comey suggested that Trump expressed his hope that the investigation of Flynn could be ended. Comey testified that Mr. Trump had said, “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.” Comey is now taking the position that he understood Mr. Trump to be suggesting that Comey end his investigation of Flynn, and the clear implication (as it is now being trumpeted in various organs of the media) is that Trump was engaged in an attempt to obstruct justice, a criminal offense which quite possibly could be grounds for impeachment.
He and Senator King, examining Mr. Trump’s suggestion about Flynn likened it to the purported comment of the English monarch, Henry II, who was mired in controversy with the famous Archbishop Thomas a Beckett. Henry asked several of his courtiers, “Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?” and, almost immediately thereafter, some of the King’s henchmen assassinated the churchman.
Most striking here is the implied assertion that President Trump (again, by implication acting illegally), was asserting kingly prerogatives (like Henry II), and expecting other governmental officials (here Comey) to carry them out. An equally plausible interpretation of Mr. Trump’s comments about Flynn, of course, now being brought forward by Mr. Trump’s defenders, is that this was not an order to Comey, but, simply the expression of a desire that someone (Flynn) whom the President believed to be a good man, and one who, in his opinion, had done nothing wrong, would not be further tormented.
Mr. Trump’s son, Donald Jr., has indicated that his father doesn’t work by indirection, and that if he was giving a direct order to Mr. Comey it would have been much clearer. Given Mr. Trump’s penchant for pithy tweets, and for his directness on the stump, it does seem quite plausible that when he wants to make something plain, he does. How then can one explain Mr. Comey’s interpretation, and, further, Mr. Comey’s repeated assertion during his Senate testimony that the President is a liar, and cannot be trusted?
One thought, floated by another Senator, Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.), is that Trump is speaking the language of a businessman, and Comey was not. This was in the context of Mr. Trump’s query to Mr. Comey whether he, the President, could depend on his loyalty. This is apparently an assertion sought by Mr. Trump from all of his cabinet members, and one that any sensible Chief Executive would want from those working under him or her. As Lankford explained, “I think Comey sees this differently than the president did. The president sees him [Comey] as another part of the team. Comey seems to see it as hey, we’re very independent, which the FBI has historically been, very independent.” READ it HERE
Press Release Washington, June 7, 2017 | Bernadette Green (202-225-2476)
Congressman Glenn Grothman (R-Glenbeulah) today criticized the Obama administration’s response to Operation Fast and Furious in a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing focused on what is still not known about the scandal six years later.
Witnesses at the hearing included Josephine Terry and Robert Heyer, mother and cousin of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry who was killed as a result of the operation, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Special Agent John Dodson.
Excerpts of Grothman’s remarks
“We really haven’t gotten into how this happened in the first place, or what the motive would be for the U.S. government to try to get United States automatic weapons in the hands of Mexican drug cartels.
“It’s very horrible what happened to Bryan Terry. And I would suppose, given the zeal with which they were pursuing this, there were an unknown amount of Mexican individuals who wound up being killed as a result of the actions of the U.S. government. Do you think that’s accurate?
“Has the Obama administration, or anyone connected with that administration, apologized to the Mexican government for trying to get automatic weapons down to the Mexican drug cartels as far as you’re aware?
“Well, someone ought to apologize.
“What would be the motivation to try to get American automatic weapons in the hands of drug cartels? Why did some people in the American government think it was in our interest to make sure the Mexican drug cartels were armed to the teeth?
“Eric Holder was certainly not very helpful. We held him in contempt of Congress. Can you, in general, give us your opinion on the degree to which Eric Holder tried to help this investigation, and the degree to which he tried to stand in the way of finding out what’s really going on here?
“It appears he really didn’t want to get to the bottom of it. He was willing to cover it up.
“Did you see the Obama administration step up and do anything about this? READ it HERE
By Bill Osmulski, MacIverNews June 9, 2017
The Joint Committee on Finance is considering almost a dozen different tax and fee increases to boost transportation funding, according to Fiscal Bureau memos released Thursday.
The Fiscal Bureau laid out 11 options for transportation fund revenue raisers "that have been the subject of frequent legislative inquiry" over the past year.
The first option would increase the state sales tax from 5 to 5.5 percent. That extra .5 percent would go into the transportation fund. The Legislative Fiscal Bureau estimates that would bring in $960 million over the biennium.
The second option would be to apply the current 5 percent sales tax to gas purchases. LFB estimates that would bring in $660 million.
Option three raises the gas tax by 1 cent per gallon, and would bring in $64.4 million over the biennium. JFC is also considering indexing the gas tax. That would tie it to inflation, and bring in $29.5 million over the biennium.
Indexing the gas tax ended in 2006. Another option would raise the gas tax by 7 cents a gallon, because LFB says that's how much it would have risen if indexing never went away. That would raise $450.9 million. JFC could also start applying the gas tax to vehicles used for farming. That would bring in $71.4 million.
Lawmakers are also considering raising vehicle registration fees. Right now annual registration costs $75 in Wisconsin. The JFC proposal would change that to a mileage-based system, where drivers are charged 1.02 cents for every mile they travel throughout the year. That would mean a $102 registration fee for motorists who drive 10,000 miles in a year.
By Chris Rochester, MacIver News Service | June 8, 2017
[Madison, Wis...] A longtime leader in welfare reform, Wisconsin has become the first state in the nation to request a federal waiver to drug test able-bodied, childless adults who seek Medicaid benefits.
The Department of Health Services submitted a broad request to the federal Centers for Medicaid Services Wednesday, asking the Trump administration for permission to implement a variety of reforms to the state's Medicaid program - also known BadgerCare - including the drug screening requirement.
If granted, the waiver would allow Wisconsin to screen those who apply for BadgerCare for drugs and, if necessary, require participants to submit to a drug test. If a recipient fails, he or she would have to enter a state-funded treatment program. If they refuse, they would be ineligible for BadgerCare benefits until they agree to enter treatment.
The DHS is also requesting to establish a two-tier requirement for monthly premiums and copayments for emergency room visits. Childless adults with household incomes from 51 to 100 percent of the federal poverty level would have to pay $8 per month for their benefits and an additional $8 for each emergency department visit. READ it HERE