May 19, 2018

Wisconsin Gov Scott Walker Set to Kill Popular SeniorCare by Year's End, Fear Advocates

Gov. Scott Walker, foe of SeniorCare RX, after announcing
2018 reelection bid said he's a converted supporter. Walker's
conversion is not trusted by Wisconsin senior advocates.

Get a move on, Scott Walker


Madison, Wisconsin — Old people in Wisconsin with their prescription drug-savings needs are almost as bad as teachers and staff.

That's the message Scott Walker is sending as Walker's Department of Health Services (DHS) and Walker maintain political and campaign silence on requesting the SeniorCare Prescription Drug Assistance Program extension through 2028. Many Wisconsin residents see advocacy for SeniorCare as one basis on which to select a candidate for the Democratic Party nomination for governor to meet Walker in the general election.

In 2015, Walker called for massive cuts to SeniorCare that would have resulted in a $66 million loss for the senior program.

In 2018, after announcing his campaign for reelection, Walker said he actually wants permanent operation for SeniorCare, but remained silent on his previously proposed cuts.

Senior advocates do not trust Scott Walker's evolving positions, slashing and subsequently voicing approval for the popular senior RX program.

Notes AARP-Wisconsin:

SeniorCare helps more than 92,000 Wisconsinites age 65-plus with their prescription drug costs. The current waiver that allows Wisconsin to offer SeniorCare as a creditable alternative to Medicare Part D is currently set to expire on Dec. 31, 2018.

Advocates for seniors are urged to contact the Department of Health Services (DHS) and call for the continuation of this popular and critical senior program by June 7, the end of the 30-day public comment deadline. The Health Service email is: 

DHSSeniorCare@dhs.wisconsin.gov.

Contact info is:

Wisconsin Department of Health Services
Division of Medicaid Services
Attn: Tiffany Reilly
1 W. Wilson St., P.O. Box 309
Madison, WI 53703

Email: dhsseniorcare@dhs.wisconsin.gov

Fax 608-266-1096

Below is an email to friends from one senior advocate from central Wisconsin, and an email from AARP-Wisconsin, both of which urge comments to the Walker administration by the June 7 deadline.

Friends,

My Mom spent the last several years of her life working with AARP to get SeniorCare passed to help the senior citizens of Wisconsin. She considered it one of her greatest accomplishments.

Many older Wisconsinites on fixed incomes are struggling to make ends meet each month. And the situation is getting more and more dire with rising costs of living and the soaring costs of medications. With SeniorCare, Wisconsin has set the bar high for not only creating a very accessible and affordable program for seniors but one that is also an extraordinarily cost-effective use of taxpayer dollars.

SeniorCare helps more than 92,000 Wisconsinites age 65-plus with their prescription drug costs.

SeniorCare is a great program for Wisconsin and its participants. The costs of the program are largely managed by the state’s ability to negotiate discounts and pricing. Enrollees pay an annual $30 fee and deductibles are based on their average income. After the deductible, SeniorCare has a co-pay of $5 for generic drugs and $15 for name-brand drugs.

Wisconsin's SeniorCare has proven to be a great program and could very well be a model for the nation to help senior citizens.

The current waiver that permits SeniorCare as a creditable alternative to Medicare Part D expires on Dec. 31, 2018. Please allow the waiver to be extended for another 10 years. 

From AARP-Wisconsin:

June 7 is the deadline to provide comments about the value of SeniorCare.

SeniorCare is a win-win program for Wisconsin.

Click here to send an email adding your voice to Wisconsin’s request to extend a waiver for this program by 10 years.
Now is the time for Wisconsinites to take action if they want the nation’s most innovative and cost-effective state prescription drug savings program for seniors to be extended for another decade.

SeniorCare helps more than 92,000 Wisconsinites age 65-plus with their prescription drug costs. But the current waiver that allows Wisconsin to offer SeniorCare as a creditable alternative to Medicare Part D is currently set to expire on Dec. 31, 2018.

That’s why we need your help. Send your comments directly to the state Department of Health Services (DHS), which will include them in its submission to the federal government, requesting that SeniorCare be extended through 2028.

By any measure, SeniorCare is a win-win program for Wisconsin and its participants. The costs of the program are largely managed by the state’s ability to negotiate discounts and pricing. Enrollees pay an annual $30 fee and deductibles are based on their average income. After the deductible, SeniorCare has a co-pay of $5 for generic drugs and $15 for name-brand drugs.

Many older Wisconsinites on fixed incomes are struggling to make ends meet each month with rising costs of living and soaring costs of medications. With SeniorCare, Wisconsin has set the bar high for not only creating a very accessible and affordable program for seniors, but one that is an extraordinarily cost-effective use of taxpayer dollars.

We encourage all Wisconsinites to provide comments about the value of SeniorCare before the June 7 deadline.  Learn more and provide comments to DHS.

Lots of supportive comments from the public about the program will go a long ways towards helping the waiver to be extended by 10 years.

We’ll be in touch soon with more ways you can make your voice heard as we fight for the future of SeniorCare. Thanks,

Sam Wilson
State Director
AARP Wisconsin
Many Wisconsin residents see advocacy for SeniorCare as critical to respecting and loving seniors who comprise the backbone of the state community.

May 17, 2018

Trump and Israel Belong Together

Photo by Jordi Bernabeu Farrús CC BY 2.0
The white supremacist Trump administration and apartheid Israel make a contented couple.

Throw is the gulf monarchies abroad and the local police and Evangelicals at home, and one can see the recipe for Trump's ad hoc axis of repulsives.

From Saree Makdisi at CounterPunch:

Two spectacles unfolded in Palestine on Monday. In Gaza, Israeli army snipers shot and killed 58 Palestinians—including six children—and injured almost three thousand others amid scenes of smoke, fire, teargas, dust, agony and blood. At exactly the same time, to the tinkling of champagne glasses at a glittering reception barely fifty miles away in Jerusalem, Jared Kushner and an elegant Ivanka Trump oversaw the opening of Donald Trump’s new embassy there. The juxtaposition of these two contemporaneous scenes encapsulates at a single glance the entirety of Zionism’s murderous conflict with the Palestinian people.

Decent people should oppose all support of Israel in American policy, as Israel's continual assault against civilization persists.

Israel is not worth another Palestinian life, another massacre of real human beings, regarded as sub-human in the raciology of the lunatics of the Trump administration and apparently a solid majority of Israel's population.

Notes Makdisi at CounterPunch:

The demographer Arnon Sofer of Haifa University is the architect of the current isolation of Gaza.  In 2004, he advised the government of Ariel Sharon to withdraw Israeli forces from within Gaza, seal the territory off from the outside world, and simply shoot anyone who tries to break out. 'When 2.5 million people live in a closed-off Gaza, it’s going to be a human catastrophe,' Sofer told an interviewer in the Jerusalem Post (11 November 2004); 'Those people will become even bigger animals than they are today, with the aid of an insane fundamentalist Islam. The pressure at the border will be awful. It’s going to be a terrible war. So, if we want to remain alive, we will have to kill and kill and kill. All day, every day.'  He added that 'the only thing that concerns me is how to ensure that the boys and men who are going to have to do the killing will be able to return home to their families and be normal human beings.'

This imperative to kill and kill and kill human 'animals' explains the violence taking place at the gates of Gaza.

Kill, kill, kill "animals" all day, every day.

It's a historic irony, Israel has become the inheritors of the Holocaust as perpetrators, with Trump and religious Evangelicals scurrying to keep up to the slow-motion destruction of 2.5 million people.

Meanwhile, at home, here at the homeland, Trump is carrying on his white supremacist dreams.

Note Juan Cole at TruthDig:

So Wednesday Trump again called some undocumented migrants in the US 'animals.' Calling people animals has been a parlor sport with Mr. Trump, and he has often gotten things wrong, as when he used his wealth to persecute the falsely accused Central Park 5.

Calling people animals is not just the use of an ugly epithet. It is not merely impolite.

It is a call to mistreat the class of people so designated, to fear them and blame them and ultimately to seek to wipe them out.

Animal functions similarly in this regard to the Nazi technical term Untermensch or underman, subhuman.

Richard A Etlin in Art, Culture, and Media under the Third Reich translates passages from the infamous SS pamphlet of 1941, entitled Der Untermensch:

It is a frightening creature, a mere shadow of a man, with humanoid racial features, yet spiritually and psychologically more base than any animal. Within this being rages a vile chaos of wild, uncontrolled passions, a nameless desire for destruction, the most primitive desires, and naked vulgarity.
The pamphlet goes on to be more specific about the identity of this horrible category of apparent human beings, who are actually animals or worse. It specifies eastern Slavs (Russians and Poles) and Jews, among others. Not even some members of those groups, but all of them. The pamphlet functioned as a call for and a justification for the genocide against the Jews, Gypsies, gays and other groups as well as the slaughter of Russian boys at the eastern Front.
The question for Americans is how well have we become the inheritors as by-standers.

May 16, 2018

GOP Picks Rightwing Extremist for Special State Sen. Primary Election

Religious fundamentalist, Wisconsin State Rep. Andre Jacque
(R-De Pere), may be bad fit for state senate special election.
State Rep. Andre Jacque (R-De Pere) was voted in as the Republican Party nominee for the special general election for state senate dist. one in northeastern Wisconsin.

The social extremist Jacque is widely considered the weaker of two Republican candidates who will face the Democratic Party nominee, Caleb Frostman on June 12.

The Republican Party leadership backed Jacque's opponent, Alex Renard.

The Republican Party primary voters had other ideas.

Jacque defeated Renard, 4,369 votes to 4,039 votes, (Anderson, Green Bay Press Gazette).

Jacque is known for his opposition to allowing women to make reproductive decisions and for his opposition to stem cells.

The Wisconsin special primary election was one of two primaries held last night, (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel).

The two special elections are remarkable because Gov. Scott Walker blocked the elections for months until he was ordered by three separate judges to follow Wisconsin election law.

The two districts holding special elections have not been represented since December 2017.

The special election will give Wisconsin residents in the districts representation from June through January 2019.

The current composition of the Wisconsin state senate is 18-14, Republicans over Democrats, with the one vacancy in dist one.

The Wisconsin state legislative districts are gerrymandered Republican, the subject of a United States Supreme Court case expected in weeks.

May 15, 2018

Wrongful Conviction—Missourian David Robinson Walks Free

From left, Jennett McCaster, David Robinson and Pat Jackson
embrace after Robinson's release from the Jefferson City
Correctional facility May 14 in Jefferson City, Missouri.
Photo: Kassi Jackson, Southeast Missourian
"David Robinson walked away a free man Monday night, after nearly 18 years of being incarcerated for a murder he did not commit," writes Bob Miller in the Southeast Missourian.

David Robinson is another victim of police-prosecutor-prison state America. Innocence doesn't matter in a system that is simultaneously mindless and malicious.

Without the work of the Southeast Missourian newspaper bringing this injustice to the attention of the state, Robinson likely would remain in prison for life for a crime he did not commit.

From the AP:

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley reviewed a judge’s ruling in February that found a police detective was 'lacking in candor or competence, or both.' That detective’s investigation helped send Robinson to prison for life in the fatal shooting of Sheila Box in Sikeston in 2001. The detective has resigned.

Hawley also evaluated the evidence available for a retrial. Since Robinson’s sentencing, another man has confessed to killing Box and two witnesses have recanted.

So, we have a system of dishonest cops, dishonest prosecutors, indecent Dept of Corrections bureaucrats in a country of by-standers. The deliverables are obscene.

The local Missouri paper freed this man against every crooked cop, prosecutor and prison bureaucrat for whom taking a human life is a game.

Would you help imprison a man you knew to be innocent? Most people would not, but the fact is we say nothing about those who perpetrate such crimes on routine basis in Missouri, Wisconsin, every state where cruel injustice and lies are objectives.

On May 5, 2018, the Southeast Missourian writes in its lead editorial after the Missouri Supreme Court "ruled that Robinson's constitutional rights had been violated when police and the state prosecution, led at the time by the Missouri Attorney General's Office, unfairly procured and presented testimony they knew to be false.":
Scott County Prosecutor Paul Boyd on Thursday said effectively that Robinson was not exonerated, because the state could continue to hold him and try him again without violating double jeopardy. While technically correct, the Supreme Court has in effect declared Robinson innocent and will now require the state to prove his guilt. With the court's approval of his habeas claim, Robinson no longer has to prove his innocence. Meanwhile, the evidence of the stunningly unjust way the Sikeston Department of Public Safety and the prosecution treated Robinson is there for everyone to see in court documents and this newspaper's extensive reporting on the case. Perhaps some introspection of how the county dispenses justice is in order, or even some contrition toward Robinson and his family are more prudent now than the parsing of the definition of the word exoneration. Maybe it's time for leadership in the county or the city of Sikeston to acknowledge the injustice that has been done. For now, the city of Sikeston has asked for a federal investigation into its past police practices regarding this case, only stating that it respects the Supreme Court's decision. As if it could do anything but.

Robinson's case is a reminder the role our police and prosecutors play in upholding our constitutional principles, and the importance of an impartial appeals system.

It also highlights the importance of attorneys who care about truth and justice. The Bryan Cave Law firm took on Robinson's case pro bono. Congratulations to them for carrying Robinson's torch.

Meanwhile, the Missouri Attorney General's Office has defended the jury's conviction at every turn, perhaps as expected. An exoneration shouldn't come easily, because a jury's decision is essential to our justice system. But it seems like a system that uses our tax dollars to defend a bad conviction for the sake of doing so is not a healthy system.

Judge Darrell Missey, in his scathing review of the handling of this case, quoted a previous ruling, Strickler v Greene, in his report to the Missouri Supreme Court:

"A prosecutor must seek truth rather than victory, 'because the prosecutor is considered the representative of not an ordinary party to a controversy, but of a sovereignty whose obligation to govern impartially is as compelling as its obligation to govern at all; and whose interest, therefore, in a criminal prosecution is not that it shall win a case, but that justice shall be done.'"

We couldn't agree more. It's time for the State of Missouri to let Robinson go.
Will anything change in Missouri's 'justice' system? No.

How about around the country where wrongful convictions abound from the same brand of sub-human cops, prosecutors and bureaucrats? No.

We live in a country where state-committed injustice is every bit as unchallenged as in Saudi Arabia, Israel, Iran, pick a monarchy or theocracy.

In Wisconsin, we have innocents Penny Brummer, Branden Dassey, Steven Avery for starters who remain in prison.

You can be sure there are many more. Every jurisdiction needs a Conviction Integrity Unit or a human governor to commute and pardon as in the Penny Brummer, Branden Dassey, and Steven Avery cases.

May 14, 2018

Wisconsin Republicans Vow to Stop Same-Day Voter Reg and Out-of-state College Voters

Wisconsin Republicans keep up
their effort to stop voters from voting
Wisconsin Republicans vowed to further block voters in a resolution at their annual convention in Wisconsin Dells this weekend.

The Republican delegates passed a resolution that would halt out-of-state college voters, and would end same-day voter registration, JR Ross reports.

Convention resolutions are a wish list of state Republicans, reflecting what Republicans wish were public policy.

Writes JR Ross on Saturday:
That the Wisconsin Republican wish list is unconstitutional appears not to be a concern, notes Stephen Wolf.
Wolf notes the United States Supreme Court decision, SYMM v. U.S , 439 U.S. 1105 (1979), (Justia), that finds the denial of college students' right to vote violates federal law, and the Fourteenth, Fifteenth, and Twenty-sixth Amendments of the United States Constitution.

Since 2011, Wisconsin Republicans have worked to enact a massive anti-voter legislative project, significant parts of which have been found to be unconstitutional, though a host of anti-voter initiatives remains in effect for the 2018 elections.

The Republican strategic war against voting in 2015 (Wisconsin Act 261) outlawed most Special Registration Deputies, (except for care homes), who formerly could resister voters and verify residency, and passed one of the nation's most anti-voter photo-ID laws.

This Spring Gov. Scott Walker blocked two special elections until Walker was forced by three different judges to hold the elections.