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Wisconsin’s Political Icon Ed Garvey Dies

February 22, 2017

Ed Garvey, a nationally known labor attorney, Wisconsin progressive, and energetic campaigner died this morning.  He was 76.

The last time I talked with Garvey was during the massive protest rallies at the Wisconsin State Capital in 2011.  He had wanted to see a  more robust and pointed message from the offices of the Democratic Party from the very moment when Governor Scott Walker had announced his intentions regarding state union employees.    I will never forget him pushing his finger towards my chest as we stood on the ground floor of the rotunda and saying “We have to strike while the iron is hot.”

Throughout his career there was never a time when Garvey did not weigh in with his hopes and ideals about the needs of voters and try to press our attention towards better policy outcomes.

When I was working in Door County and serving as Democratic County Chairperson Garvey waged his campaign for the U.S. Senate.  It goes without saying there was a great deal of pride in my efforts in 1986 to ramp up the enthusiasm on the local level for him, and also feel the sting of a loss when the votes were counted that November.  In 1998 he sought election as governor but was defeated after a tough battle with Tommy Thompson.

But Garvey did not lose his faith after that election loss.  His optimism about the future needs of our political institutions was always strong as he continued to speak out and strongly support those who had a message that often echoed his own.    He proved that politics is not only about winning or losing but keeping the spirit of the fight alive even when the odds are against you.

That may be his legacy.

Trump Ordered By Federal Judge To Give List Of Names Detained Due To Muslim Travel Ban

February 22, 2017

Good news.

A federal judge in New York ordered the Trump administration to produce a list of all persons detained as part of the executive order that limited travel and immigration from seven countries as well as temporarily shut down the refugee program.

Brooklyn federal judge Carol Bagley Amon delivered the order Tuesday, asking for the names of people held for questioning or processed from Jan. 28 at 9:37 pm — when another Brooklyn judge halted part of the ban that allowed for deportations — until Jan. 29 at 11:59 pm.

The government has until Feb. 23 to produce the list in the New York case.

The order was delivered as a part of a case filed by two Iraqi nationals who were detained at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. The restraining order issued in Brooklyn on Jan. 28 expired Tuesday.

Affordable Care Act More Popular Now Than Ever

February 22, 2017

One of the reasons for the loud and energized blow-back at congressional town meetings nationwide is the growing level of support for the Affordable Care Act and the tensions with those who wish to repeal it but have no idea how to replace it.   Adding to the political strain is the lack of appreciation by some among the GOP base who desire tax reform.  The fact is first there needs to be a budget package prepared with the health care component included so that a simpler procedure for passage can be used to enact the tax overhaul.  Try and explain that to an angry room who disdain civics.

The 2010 healthcare law is becoming more popular, even as it heads toward the chopping block — further complicating efforts by Donald Trump and congressional Republicans to repeal and replace it. While both Trump and Republicans in both chambers of Congress campaigned on repealing the Affordable Care Act — passed exclusively with Democratic votes and signed by then-President Barack Obama – a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll shows voters are now split evenly on the law. Forty-five percent of registered voters approve of the law, the poll shows, and 45 percent disapprove. In early January, before Trump took office, a POLITICO/Morning Consult poll showed only 41 percent of voters approved of the health care law, compared with 52 percent who disapproved. And now there’s little consensus on what Congress and the Trump administration should do next. Only 12 percent want to keep the law in place, while 24 percent want to repeal it entirely. But there’s a sharp divide between the 27 percent who want to repeal parts of the law, but not all of it – and the 26 percent who want to expand the existing law.”

International Medical Students Being Harmed By Trump’s Muslim Travel Ban

February 22, 2017

The fact there was a not an inter-governmental process applied to the efforts by Donald Trump regarding his Muslim travel ban means many have been adversely impacted.  News today that international medical students are being harmed is truly upsetting.  Men and women who are vastly more intelligent than Trump are having their lives upset due to bigotry from this White House.  Think of the potential good these future leaders in medicine might have on the places they come from and the lives they would touch. 

Hospitals are under intense pressure to reject qualified international medical students applying for residencies in the United States because of fears that Trump’s immigration policies may bar the students from entering the country, educators and hospital administrators say.

As many as 1,000 medical school graduates may be unfairly penalized because of their country of origin, medical school officials say. Massachusetts could be hit particularly hard because the state is home to some of the world’s leading teaching hospitals as well as smaller community hospitals that typically depend on a large pool of foreign medical talent.

The concern over Trump’s policies — particularly his restriction on travel from seven majority Muslim countries — has added an unusual amount of anxiety to the upcoming “Match Day,’’ when medical students learn which hospital has accepted them to a residency program.

How Did My Day Go?

February 21, 2017

It was really great.

We had 25% turnout at my polling place on the Madison isthmus. That is awesome for a February Primary where I voted wearing shorts and deck shoes!

Trump Trying To Trick Trade Numbers To Show Imbalance

February 21, 2017

Phony numbers are now a part of the planning for the Trump Administration’s efforts to attempt to show the downside of free trade.   This blog remains in support of trade and agreements that are vital to international efforts to build economic stability and  social mobility in developing countries.   What Trump wishes for is chaos on the international scene.

The Trump administration is considering changing the way it calculates U.S. trade deficits, a shift that would make the country’s trade gap appear larger than it had in past years, according to people involved in the discussions.

The leading idea under consideration would exclude from U.S. exports any goods first imported into the country, such as cars, and then transferred to a third country like Canada or Mexico unchanged, these people told The Wall Street Journal.

Economists say that approach would inflate trade deficit numbers because it would typically count goods as imports when they come into the country but not count the same goods when they go back out, known as re-exports.

Data on trade balances and surpluses, widely followed by Congress, are at the center of a political battle over whether existing trade agreements should be retained, renegotiated or tossed out altogether.

A larger trade deficit would give the Trump administration ammunition in arguing that trade deals need to be renegotiated, and might help boost political support for imposing tariffs.

Career government employees objected last week when they were asked to prepare data using the new methodology, according to the people familiar with the discussions. These employees at the U.S. Trade Representative’s office complied with the instructions, but included their views as to why they believe the new calculation wasn’t accurate.

One person familiar with the discussions said the employees were told the new calculations were to be presented to members of Congress.

The effect of such a change would be particularly stark on data involving countries that have free trade deals with the U.S., this person said—and in some cases the new methodology could even change a trade surplus into a trade deficit.

Facts Prove Trump Wrong About First Month In Office

February 21, 2017

Like my readers I was aghast at the tone and lack of substance or fact during last week’s press conference by Donald Trump.   He claimed his administration is running like a “fine-tuned machine” and has made “incredible progress” since the inauguration.

He even had the hutzpah to state “I don’t think there’s ever been a president elected who in this short period of time has done what we’ve done.”

Plainly Trump is not a reader of much of anything–especially history.   So lets set the record straight and add the facts Trump is scornful of over and over.

When Ronald Reagan took over the White House in 1981, he proposed his historic tax-cut plan on Feb. 15. When George W. Bush moved into the Oval Office in 2001 he proposed a tax-cut plan on Feb. 8. And when Barack Obama became president, Congress actually passed a giant economic stimulus package so he could sign it into law on Feb. 17. All those dates now have passed and the most we can say for Trump during the first month is that he likes to bitch about his daughter’s treatment form Nordstrom’s.

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