The dog that didn’t bark, part the umpteenth repeal, replace, and retreat

Well, it seems the Wisconsin State Journal will never weigh in, editorially, on the recent attempt get rid of Obamacare. It was quite a calamity in the making — engineered and promoted by their most favoritest Congressman, Paul Ryan.  24 million Americans came close to losing health insurance.  It just seems amazing that this whole thing could play out — over years really, and especially over the last several months — and the State Journal never said a word.

So much wrong in Washington No problem, local media to the rescue

Republicans are digging the grave of Obamacare. Should they whistle as they work? Nate Silver of tweets

We estimate the GOP bill has plurality support from voters in only ~80 of 435 districts, and a majority in only about 3 (!) of 435.

Huh. Weird…

The GOP bill is widely unpopular??? Isn’t this supposed to matter in our system of government? Isn’t it supposed to matter a LOT? Isn’t it sort of a fundamental, bedrock principle of democracy/self-government?  Surely our local editorial page will grab a-hold of this and, you know, weigh-in soon!


CBO estimate: 24 million to lose insurance under new GOP health plan But -- on the bright side -- tax cuts for the rich!

Ezra Klein at explains:

Here, in short, is what the AHCA does. The bill guts Medicaid, halves the value of Obamacare’s insurance subsidies, and allows insurers to charge older Americans 500 percent more than they charge young Americans.

Then it takes the subsidies that are left and reworks them to be worth less to the poor and the old, takes the insurers that are left and lets them change their plans to cover fewer medical expenses for the sick, and rewrites the tax code to offer hundreds of billions of dollars in tax cuts to the rich. As Dylan Matthews writes, it is an act of class warfare by the rich against the poor.

Why, this seems bigly significant. You can be sure our local newspaper will want to weigh in on this pretty darn soon.

Why is the Wisconsin State Journal editorial board in hiding? Toothless dog ill serves its readers

Took a peek at the State Journal editorial this morning…. Jeepers. Worse than usual? There’s actually a typo in the headline (and the URL)… Willy Steet. Steet?!? Well, typos do happen.

It’s harder to ignore that it’s a badly over-simplified analysis and thus, shall we say, not good. A huge obstacle to this little co-op paying a ‘living wage’ is that it’s just a single business operating in a sea of competition. Why can’t one gas station sell regular for $2.25 when other gas stations are charging $2.00? This is basic stuff. Note to Milfred: Maybe this is why living wage advocates tend to favor living wage laws affecting businesses in general?

Once again the editorial page is talking about some diddly little distraction

But again, ignore that. Ignore the typo, ignore the foolish analysis. The big thing (once again) is that the editorial page is talking about some diddly little distraction when bigly things is happening in America.

  • Healthcare coverage for 20 million Americans is being damaged or simply eliminated.
  • The rich (incomes above $250,000) are about to get a 600 billion dollar tax cut as part of the bargain.
  • Paul Ryan’s out there rattling off his buzzwords. “It means more choices and competition.” “You can buy the plan that you need and that you can afford.”
  • Doctors oppose it. Nurses oppose it. Hospitals oppose it.

This is a very big deal for lots of Americans and for the American economy. It’s an utterly teachable moment about what our political parties are standing for today.

Is the State Journal with Ryan on this? Do they have any thoughts? Anything?

Not yet.

Let’s not talk about global warming Where's the profit in that?

burning earthJuly wasn’t just hot,” sez the Times editorial page. “It was the hottest month ever recorded.”

Fourteen of the 15 hottest years have occurred since 2000. Does any serious person not see what’s happening?

Still, the steady approach of catastrophic global warming — no matter how dire, no matter how evident — is never much of a topic for the Wisconsin State Journal editorial board.

  • Are they climate denialists? No, that’s not it. Every once in a while there’s a crumb of evidence that they do know it’s a real thing and that it’s happening.
  • Are they reluctant to ‘call out’ climate denialism or the climate deniers? Well, this seems much more likely. Since climate denialism has for at least a decade functioned as a bright identity marker in our tribal politics, as well as a marker of being in touch with reality — with the Elephants in denial and the Donkeys not — it’s gotten very hard to make the case that oh, everyone’s to blame. Saying, “everyone’s to blame, both sides do it, the truth is somewhere in the middle…” this is the safe spot for American commercial journalism, and of course it’s not always wrong. But to make this claim about climate change is journalistic nonsense, so the State Journal editorial page just shuts up about it. It finds a million other things to talk about.


Will the Wisconsin State Journal ever start addressing the Trump phenomenon? A very short open letter

Gentlemen of the editorial board:

Are you ever planning to say anything about Trump? It’s been about a year now, and he’s been in the news more or less constantly. Surely you’ve seen some of duce - the founder of Italian fascism

Are you really going to say nothing??? (You know, on the editorial page?)

Are you really going to blow bubbles all the way to November while this bizarre, wannabe Il Duce amps it up week after week?  He’s now moved on to de-legitimizing not just the coming election (where he looks to be a Loser) but the news media itself. Are you watching this? Are you offended by anything going on at the highest levels of conservative and/or Republican Party messaging?

Nothing to say? Nothing???

Kudos to Phil Hands at the Wisconsin State Journal Can they keep him on staff? How could they?

Just earlier — as we watched Republican National Conventioneers shouting “Lock her up!” — we wondered:

Wouldn’t — shouldn’t — the responsible press, where it still exists, sorta recognize that something was going very terribly wrong???

Phil Hands Lock her upPhil Hands, editorial cartoonist and youngest member of the editorial board at the Wisconsin State Journal, answered the call of the convention with a cartoon showing Trumpistas shouting “Lock her up!” at who? At a startled Statue of Liberty.

Spot on. The State Journal will not be able to hold on to this employee. Phil Hands will be moving on to greener pastures. About a year from now, we’d guess.

How can the New York Times pay attention to corruption in Wisconsin when the Wisconsin State Journal does not? Seriously, stuff is happening here

NYT 2-21.2016How can a newspaper located 942 miles away publish a spot-on editorial about corruption in Wisconsin, while the local newspaper manages to say… nothing?

It happened again today when the New York Times editorial board wrote

Let’s not talk about it Editorial page editor's go-to move

dollar bill origamiPaul Krugman notes that Republican candidates running for the biggest possible job are once again — hold on to your hat — proposing huge tax cuts for the 1%:

…both Jeb! and Trump are proposing cuts that would do more fiscal damage than anything W enacted, with the following estimates of the 10-year increase in debt as a percentage of GDP:

W: 18.2
Jeb: 28.2
Trump: 39.2

So far, the Tax Policy Center has only published full analysis for the Bush and Trump tax plans, but rest assured all the Republican presidential candidates — yes, all of them — are competing to wreck the federal balance sheet. Mostly via tax cuts tilted toward the very wealthy.

Will the Wisconsin State Journal editorial page notice any of this? Editor Milfred frequently sounds like a guy who wants to pay for things. Republicans, too, like to talk about balanced budgets. Could it all be just political posing? Well, yes, it could. How should we evaluate politicians who talk about fiscal responsibility but do not act? How should we evaluate opinion writers who never seem to notice these patterns?

This country did, in fact, have a balanced budget 15 years ago when Bill Clinton turned over the reins to George W. Bush. W, of course, promptly piddled it away, mostly on tax cuts for the rich. Sound familiar?

Of course, the balanced budget of the Clinton years is carefully and intentionally never mentioned by Republicans. But it’s also never mentioned by our local daily newspaper… which makes one think.

How can the front page be at war with the back page? Wisconsin State Journal shows us how

Paris Climate Conference.  Wisconsin State Journal headline:

“Event goal: Avert global havoc”

WSJ front page

Is this headline controversial? Well, sure and alas, it is.

The headline seems to offer matter-of-fact acceptance that global climate change is real. It is real, of course, but not everyone believes it.

Oh, yes, the insurance industry, the Department of Defense, and scores of U.S. corporations all recognize that climate change is real. Scientists are in consensus. Really, all serious people recognize this looming danger. But that’s not everyone, is it. In point of fact, one of our two major political parties remains ludicrously married to climate denialism.

And that brings us to the back pages of the Wisconsin State Journal. There, on the editorial page, where they ought to be able to speak freely, they’ve got almost nothing to say. On the front page, as we noted, they can say the words “Avert global havoc,” but on the back page, they’re sound asleep. How does this happen? Mr. Milfred, the apparent editorial page editor for life, is snoring away.

Consider Milfred’s recent editorial page celebration of Congressman Paul Ryan — an over-the-top tribute which dubbed Ryan a “statesman” and a figure of “intellectual heft”. Somehow — and we know not how — Milfred seems not to know about Ryan’s nutty stance on climate change.

Writing in New York magazine, Jonathan Chait said this about Ryan’s climate change stance:

During a debate last night for his election to the House, Paul Ryan was asked if he believes that human activity has contributed to global warming. “I don’t know the answer to that question,” he replied, “I don’t think science does, either.”

In fact, science does know the answer. Climate scientists believe with a 95 percent level of certainty (the same level of certainty as their belief in the dangers of cigarette smoking) that human activity is contributing to climate change. There are things science knows, and this is one of them. Scientists may not have the answer to what policies are appropriate for responding to the fact that greenhouse-gas emissions cause changes to the environment, but they can tell us what happens when we release heat-trapping gasses into the atmosphere.

This is another way of saying that Paul Ryan is a nut.

Is “nut” too strong a word? Too colorful? Maybe for some. But really, no one should offer up baseless nonsense about a grave problem facing the planet and still have claim to “intellectual heft”.